Today we are talking with the lovely, talented Jodi Meadows, author of INCARNATE and ASUNDER, as well as the upcoming PHOENIX OVERTURE (September 3, 2013) and
INFINITE (January 28, 2014) in the NEWSOUL series. She recently announced a new two-book series, starting with THE ORPHAN QUEEN, coming in 2015.
That is a weirdly hard question to answer! Years, definitely. I first had the idea for the story in 2006, but did nothing with it because I was too afraid of it. Hah. But technically I've been working on this series since 2009, when I sat down to work on the worldbuilding and synopses, and I've only just turned in the final draft of PHOENIX OVERTURE, the Sam novella. I'll get copyedits on it some time next month. So, November 2009 to August 2013?
But I wasn't working on this story the whole time. In between books and drafts of Incarnate series, I wrote Unspeakable Story, Sparkle Story, and THE ORPHAN QUEEN (formerly known as Broadway Story), and I spent a nice chunk of time revising those -- or bits of those. (There's a reason you never hear me talk about Unspeakable Story: it's because I'm not yet sure how to fix it.)
So years, but it hasn't been all Ana all the time.
I don't want to say never, though. If one day it looks like there's a huge (it would have to be huge!) demand for more stories set in reincarnation-land, then I might start digging in a bit more.
Hmm. Sort of. But not really? While I am a one-story-at-a-time sort of girl, there are always other stories I'm looking forward to working on. As I mentioned earlier, I do a lot of writing new things in between writing and revising other things. It helps me be able to come back to stories with fresh eyes.
It can be hard to switch in some things (like, in THE ORPHAN QUEEN, when someone dies, they're just dead, unlike in INCARNATE!), but it can also be really refreshing, too.
How did you decide on your next project?
I always work on whatever story is yelling the loudest. Whichever story won't let me sleep at night, and haunts my thoughts while I'm supposed to be doing other things. I always focus first on what I want to work on.
What have been some of the challenges of starting over after your debut series?
Developing a whole new world is always difficult! It's exciting to go somewhere new, but exploring isn't always easy. It takes lots of work, and even when I think I've got something figured out, I always discover new layers to the world, characters, or themes.
Every new story is a challenge, though, even if it's in the same world with the same characters. I wrote sixteen completed manuscripts before I wrote INCARNATE, and I've written several since then -- and every single time, I wonder how I'm going to do this, how it's possible to write an entire novel. It just seems so big and impossible.
What have been some of the good things about staring a new series?
It's exciting! I get to share a whole new story with people, explore new worlds, hang out with new characters. I love daydreaming about what kind of themes and connections will be in the story, and whether anyone will notice.
What is one thing that you learned with your first series that made the second easier?
That's another tricky question, since I didn't write THE ORPHAN QUEEN directly after I wrote the Incarnate series. I wrote Unspeakable Story after I turned in the final draft of INCARNATE, and Sparkle Story just after I turned in the first draft of ASUNDER. (So, not much later.) I didn't start THE ORPHAN QUEEN until a year after that, when I'd revised ASUNDER and turned in the first draft of INFINITE. (And then OQ went on hold while I revised INFINITE and did all my traveling. It's still not ready to see my editor yet.)
So, the actual question? I'm not sure. Every book teaches me something new. Maybe my lesson was more publishing-oriented, though: to write what I love, no matter what. Some people are going to love my books as enthusiastically as I do. Others will like them, or feel ambivalent toward them. Some will actively hate them. But the most important thing I can do is to keep writing books I love, regardless what anyone else thinks about them. Foremost, I'm writing to please myself.
That is excellent advice. Any other advice for other writers, just starting a series?
For writers just starting a series: finish it. At least finish the first book.
It's important to know that you can finish it, even if it seems impossible now. And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect the first go-round. (Indeed, it won't be perfect.) You can't fix a blank page, though.
Fantastic! Finally, I know you can’t talk much about THE ORPHAN QUEEN, but can you give us a teeny-tiny tease before you go?
Sure! One of my friends said the kissing scene in it is her very favorite of all my kissing scenes, even more than the masquerade in INCARNATE. So, that's going to happen. (I actually have favorite kissing scenes for different friends in every book, which means I could say "best kissing scene I've written according to X-friend" for every story. With one friend, we've started identifying my stories by their kissing scenes. I'd tell you more, but . . .)
Okay. I'm sold. Yay kissing! Thanks, Jodi!
You can add Jodi’s books on Goodreads, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and check out her website for updates.