Sentinels of New Orleans: Past, Present, Future

So….Sentinels of New Orleans fans. Here’s what’s up with DJ, Jean Lafitte, Alex and the gang….

It took six months and an ultimatum, but I have finally received word that my publisher does not want to publish the final book in the series. What does that mean for you as readers and for me as an author?

First, don’t worry—there WILL be at least one more book in the series. It will be the last in the current story arc, but now that I control the series, the door is open to, say, also making the book a spinoff start of a new SENTINEL WARS series so that new readers can come in without having read the previous books. Or, more likely, the book will simply end the current series and leave open the possibility of a new series set in the vast Sentinels multiverse. (I suspect Jean Lafitte still has some life left in him!)

Another plus: timing. Instead of two (or three) years between books, I can publish the new book, tentatively titled FRENCHMAN STREET, as early as November. I’m shooting for early next spring for a release date rather than put it out right before the holidays.

Negatives? Well, the cover won’t match the rest of the series, since the model who portrayed DJ on all the covers came from a photo shoot to which I will not have access. I have confidence that a good cover designer and I can find a solution, however.

Another big question mark is format. If you’ve followed the series in print, you know that it has been a royal mess, so to speak. The publisher released ROYAL STREET only in trade paperback. RIVER ROAD and ELYSIAN FIELDS came out both in hardcover and trade paperback. PIRATE’S ALLEY and BELLE CHASSE came out only in hardcover. For those of us (i.e., everyone) who like to have our series in a matching set, that has been a nightmare over which I had no control. I still have no control over how the first five books came out, but am pretty sure that FRENCHMAN will come out in trade paperback rather than hardcover because of the cost. I am still exploring my options on that, however. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments. It might be that I can have a limited number of hardcover copies available signed from my website.

Thoughts? Preferences? Ideas? My prolonged illness this winter has slowed everything down, and ILLUMINATION is at the top of my priority list. But Sentinels will not be far behind.

Sound off here! I’m really interested in hearing where you’d like to see Sentinels to go next, or if it’s time to put it to bed.

Unanswered Questions (Can Jason Momoa Play Jean Lafitte?) and Giveaway

Unfortunately, the Q&A done for yesterday’s blog tour stop never got posted, so I’ll just run it here so you WILL see what influenced the BELLE CHASSE storyline!

First, though, there are two more chances to enter for the tour prizes today. There’s a review (thank you thank you) over at Bambi Unbridled, and a spotlight stop at Diane’s Book Blog. Go and enter!

Also, if you’re a newsletter subscriber, no, you didn’t miss my November 15 newsletter because the day job ate it. Look for it in mid-December!

So, here’s the interview that didn’t run. And if it goes up late for some reason, I’ll post the link again so you can enter for the tour prizes.

Where do you get your ideas?

It’s usually from a combination of stories and trivia I’ve tucked away in my subconscious that somehow, at some point, coalesce into an idea for a book or series. With the Sentinels of New Orleans series, it came from a combination of leftover PTSD from having been a New Orleanian at the time of Hurricane Katrina, plus moving away from New Orleans into a small town where I didn’t know anyone, plus rediscovering urban fantasy in the form of Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, plus reading an essay by fantasy author Terry Pratchett about the glass ceiling in fantasy magic—wizards were almost never female and witches, mostly female, were almost always inferior to wizards.

So that all coalesced, somehow, into an urban fantasy series about a female wizard in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina when the borders between our world and the preternatural universe fall, gradually throwing her world into utter chaos.

Do you have a dream cast for your book?

For the Sentinels books, I think the actress Emilie de Ravin, in her “Lost” era, would make a good DJ, the heroine. I don’t think she’d kick Joe Manganiello out of bed if he played Alex, although I’m not totally sold on that–Alex is a big younger but the size is spot-on. There has been a Facebook movement afoot to cast Jason Momoa as the undead pirate Jean Lafitte since he played Lafitte on “Drunk History,” and I might be down with that. What do my “Lafitians” think?

momoaHow do you handle writer’s block?

By binge-watching entire seasons of TV shows? I am very deadline-driven, so the times I’m likely to get writer’s block are the times when I do not have a hard deadline on a book…like right now. I can set deadlines for myself but I’m not very good about keeping them. When I leave the day job next spring to write full time, I’m going to have to get over that problem really fast! Seriously, though, you just have to write through writer’s block. Write something every day, even if you know it’s crap you won’t end up keeping, because everything can be revised but you can’t revise what you haven’t written. Do as I say, not as I do! (Says the woman who binge-watched 12 seasons of “The Deadliest Catch,” at about 16 episodes per season.)

What inspired you to write this book?

Technically, the fact that I had a contract and a deadline—two great motivators! It’s the fifth book in a series of six, so there will be one more. I have known how this story arc ended since about book two, so this has been unspooling in my head for several years, at least in general terms. In terms more specific to BELLE CHASSE, it has very much been influenced by what I have seen going on around me in the United States politically the last three or four years—NOT the election, mind you, because this book was completed and turned in to the publisher at the end of 2014 so it was written waaaaaay before all the election drama began. But the anger and the unwillingness or inability of leaders to move forward—or move, period—had a big influence on the behavior of the Interspecies Council in particular.

The series’ trajectory has also been influenced by history—specifically, the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and how it all played out. Just imagine it playing out with pirates and wizards and elves and faeries instead of pirates and Americans and Brits! And throw in Mardi Gras. Ready for book six? LOL.

What’s the hardest part of being an author?

Time management, for me. I have a 50-hour-a-week “day job,” plus caregiver duties for a disabled 91-year-old Senior Adult, plus all that goes with having a full-time writing career in addition to actually writing. Writers don’t just write; they also need to read, and they have to do the bulk of the marketing and promotion on their books themselves.What gets undone is sleep, self-care, and housework. Finding enough hours in the day to do what I need to do without getting too exhausted to function—it’s a challenge. I try to stay positive…especially since I’m leaving the day job at the end of March in order to write full time. Yay! (Guess I have to add a codicil here that after spending more than $12,000 on house repairs in the past three days, I will probably have to continue working somewhere although it’s too late to stay where I am. Anybody need a good part-time copy editor? LOL.)

So, there was the missing interview. And if you stuck with it this long, leave a comment on whether or not you can endorse Jason Momoa as Jean Lafitte, and be entered for a $5 gift card!