I’ve just sent off revisions on STONE COLD, book #2 in the Broken Magic series. This is the spin-off from the Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy books, featuring Shame and Terric as lead characters. The first book, HELL BENT will be out November 5th, and I am both nervous and excited for readers to get their hands on this, my first spin-off series.
Honestly, I never thought I’d write a spin-off to the Allie books. But when the fan mail and questions started rolling in for Shame and Terric’s story, I realized they had connected with readers.
Still, I didn’t think Shame, who is a sloucher/death magic user/ne’re-do-well would fit as a lead for a book. And unless he and Terric, who is a hard-working/life magic user/upstanding guy had a strong story to explore–and NOT just that they are tied together by their magic and don’t exactly get along–I wasn’t going to write something to fill pages.
Then a reader asked me a question that sparked a tumble of ideas: “When does Shame get to meet a fiery redhead who can drink him under the table?”
I sorted through all the tumble of ideas and in them found the ending scene of HELL BENT. Once I can see the end of a book, I know there is an entire exciting journey to take to get there.
And it has been exciting! Here are some things that I thought were fun about writing a spin-off:
1. Seeing the other characters from a new person’s point of view, especially Allie and Zayvion, the leads of the Allie Beckstrom series. Shame’s view and opinions of them are (naturally) different than Allie’s views and opinions and reflect a different history.
2. Seeing inside Shame’s head and heart. That boy is sarcastic and selfish and funny and broken and strong, though I don’t think he’d describe himself as any of those things. Well, maybe funny. He thinks he’s a riot.
3. Seeing the same world that has been drastically changed by the current state of magic, which has made it a different world altogether. These books take place three years after the Allie books, and the rules of magic and the people who use it are not the same. Watching Shame try to navigate those changes–to varying degrees of success, because seriously if there’s a hard way to do something, that’s what he’ll try–was great fun to write.
I guess at the end of it all, I wanted these two books to stand on their own feet, no prior experience with me, my books, or my worlds necessary. There is no need to read the Allie books to enjoy these, though if you do, it should give another layer of enjoyment to the books. And although they carry a different tone than the Allie books (a little darker), I do hope readers of the original series will enjoy them too.
As a reader, I’ve had mixed results with spin-off series. Some I’ve loved, some have left me wishing the writer would have just stuck with the main series, usually because I love the main characters so much.
How about you? Do you read spin-offs? Any favorites you’d like to share?