i don’t know what i’m doing

Sometimes I’m asked in what order someone should read my books. I guess this is because some of the same characters appear in three of them, and the second follows the action of the first, so I have kinda-sorta written a series.

But the third precedes the first if you want to consider date when plot takes place, and the fourth precedes the third on that basis, too. And now the fifth follows the third, but is still before the first.

Are you with me?

I think it doesn’t matters in what order you read. Read whichever one comes your way, and, if pleased,  go from there. Each book is written to stand alone: a full-fledged story with beginning, middle, end. But chronologically, it’s fourth, third, fifth (unfinished, too bad, so sad), first, second if you have to follow the ruler of time.

As the one who writes them, I find remote, bemused bewilderment in the way they have unfolded in my imagination. The first one was written to heal over a great hurt. The second one was written because the publisher made an offer people I trusted insisted I couldn’t refuse. The third one was written because that’s what was there for me to do when I left a regular job I’d gone to because writing fiction seemed too hard (not as hard as stupid politics at a low level job). The fourth one was written because it was the one I’ve been trying to write since the second.  A piece had tumbled out as a plot device in the third. That was when I realized how large a particular story of interest to me (Louis XIV and some of his relationships) was, and that my mistake had been to try to fit that story into one book. So I just wrote another piece of Louis’s story for the fourth.

Now that Before Versailles is finished, I am taking one thread of it to unfurl it forward into the time period of Dark Angels, and those characters, Richard and Alice, are back on stage.

But then the book after this one, six, if I’m counting correctly, will again look backward to Alice’s girlhood, to when she first becomes a maid of honor and a particular period of history I want to show readers. So it will precede Dark Angels chronologically.

And then, and only then, will I be ready to go forward to the early 18th century in which Barbara, the character of the first and second novels, lived. I think there is one more novel about her, but since I’m in the first draft of another novel, I can’t imagine finishing this one, much less contemplating doing another.

Is there psychic order to my madness, or am I just insane?  It is very stupid marketing on my part to write out of order. However, I can’t force my imagination to go anywhere it doesn’t wish to. It’s worse than a mean mule or a insistent toddler. I am not in charge. In fact the more I write, the less I know about writing.

 

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11 responses to “i don’t know what i’m doing

  1. Every single one of your books is a gift to me. Write them in whatever order you wish. I’ll happily go wherever your characters take me.

  2. I LOVE Alice and Richard. and I love that Dark Angels came after the Barbara story… because Alice is such a strong character in the first two books and her story needs to be told .. finally we get to see the real Richard not just Alice’s memories of him.. He is dashing and honorable and capable of great love.. ooo la la …. I am also curious about a young Roger..

  3. FABULOUS!!!!! And encouraging to a fledgling writer…..

  4. I’ve heard that many writers go through what you commented on-their writing takes over, like a child with a mind of its own, and they can only follow and watch the story unfold.

    I’m so excited to hear there may be another Barbara book later! She’s my alltime favorite character, so realistic and full of life and dreams. Looking forward to the “next story”.

  5. It doesn’t matter to me which order you write your books in, I will read them all and always keep them on my bookshelf. I love your books.
    I love your sense of humor!

  6. Your “insistent toddler” is an extremely talented child. Your fiction and that of Chris Rogers are wonderful reads. Write on, Karleen!

  7. Rosemary Crowe-Davis

    Karleen ~ Having read all of your books I can tell you that you most certainty know what you are doing. I know you must have more of Dutchess Alice and Barbara’s story to tell. Is it possible that Barbara will ever return Tony ‘s love and with a few plot twists live Alice ‘s dream that she, Barbara, will become the Dutchess of Tamworth? How will Barbara ever be able cope with the death or her beloved grandmother? Will Barbara ever realize her dream of motherhood? Will the duchess ever hear from Sir John again? What true historical events and people will sweep through their lives reaping and sowing? I know it will take a bit of time to hear from the Saylor family, but, being a true fan, as I’ve said before, I’ll be the one in the baited breath line. Good ventures to ya, Karleen ~ and thanks for the blots.

  8. Rosemary Crowe-Davis

    That was supposed to say ” thanks for the BLOGS! “.

  9. I have just finished reading Dark Angels, Through a Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face. I came to the blog to find out if you will be writing more novels in this series, so I am thrilled to know that EVENTUALLY you will. Ever since I finished Now Face to Face (only since last night at 11:30 PM and it’s now 9 AM the next day), I have been writing spin-off stories in my mind…wondering what happens to all the different characters and in all the different story lines next. OMG, I may die of anticipation before you write the stories!!!

  10. I am pining for Bab, I would love to read more of Alice and Richard in the court of Charles II. But Bab, her life and loves make my heart ache, and I long to have her future in my hands. Please! I have written before and am not a romance junkie but a connoisseur of the Tamworth Clan. Love your work and read all three of the Tamworth books annually and long for more! Thank you for increasing my already great interest in British history and for all the hours of pleasure and pain in enjoying your writing.

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