I am finally at a place in my writing process where I feel comfortable setting a date for the publication of Hidden, the next full-length installment in my Circle series. So save the date and mark your calendars: by the winter solstice you can be snuggled up by the fire with your head caught in a world full of magic, adventure, a dark mystery, just a touch of romance, and of course, plenty of sarcasm. I'm really excited about the progress I have made over the last six months--even including the 115 pages lost to the Great Laptop Crash of 2019. With only four chapters now left to write, I am so close to the finish line I can taste it. Hidden is turning into a fabulous book, if I do say so myself, and I can't wait to share it with you.
Just as in its predecessor Destined, there are multiple storylines woven throughout the novel, but the primary narrative follows Mari, Gren, and their friends. I'm juggling a ton of characters in this one, which certainly does not ease the process when your POV is third person omniscient, but each has his/her purpose and importance in this story and stories to come. I am one of those writers who tries to plan my stories down to the tiniest detail ahead of time, but I also have--like many other writers, it would seem--created characters with minds of their own and released them onto the page largely unsupervised; thus, sometimes, despite all my careful planning and my many outlines, they surprise me. It has happened numerous times during the writing of Hidden that I will think I know exactly how a scene is going to play out, but then all of a sudden one of my characters goes rogue and completely changes things. Fortunately, I have found that whenever one of my characters goes off script, it actually makes the story better. Frustrating as it may be at times, I suppose in the end, Mari and Gren and Ruv and the twins and everyone else know their own stories better than I ever could. I'm just the author, after all. What do I know?
This phenomenon is on my mind because it happened again in the chapter I finished writing the other day. They were supposed to have just a nice evening by the fire, but then suddenly Ruv took over the conversation and started dropping foreshadowing for future books all over the darn place. Granted, his foreshadowing is super vague (I can't be giving away too many spoilers in a series with five planned books when I'm only on the second). And yet, there he was, telling a story he had shared with none before...not even the pack of which he used to be the Alpha. He finally explains how he came to learn so much about the art of Sanguina (shapeshifting), and why he gave up being Alpha so readily after meeting Mari, Gren, Laria, and Hal. Ruv always knew, it seems, that he had a role to play where the Destined Ones are concerned. You'll just have to wait to read Hidden to find out what that role is, or at least, what Ruv thinks it will be...
Hidden takes place across numerous landscapes and locations. It starts on Earth, shortly after my short story "Faerie Stones" ends, then of course my team of unlikely acquaintances returns to Aorea to answer a summons from Laria. And to avoid being arrested. Whichever. Their journey takes them well outside of the Endless Forest in Nomansland, where they spent the majority of their adventure in Destined. Ergo, you'll get to see many more of the Aorean cultures--particularly the evrae--in this book, and you'll also get to learn a bit more about the abilities and backgrounds of various Aorean races, such as the niethera and the leshii. As I approach writing the climax of the novel, things are all starting to come to a head (I mean, obviously...that's what the climax is for): tying some threads together, unraveling others. Assumptions are challenged, and in the solving of one mystery, deeper mysteries bubble to the surface.
Destined laid a lot of groundwork on which the rest of the series can unfold; Hidden builds on that groundwork in some places, but shatters it utterly in others. In Aorea, anything is possible, for better or worse.