Keeping the Story Plot Invigorated and Surprising.
Cooking the sequel in a pressure cooker.
We’re all familiar with sophomoric sequels. The author makes a great start in the first book, but then the story just coasts along with no inspiration or energy in the second book. While we all hope that the second book will be at least as good as the first, we know it must cover new territory, and there is always a risk the author will lose his or her way. The challenge is to not just keep the story alive, but to keep it growing in surprising, unanticipated, and even exciting ways.
|The Brothers Washburn|
with the owner of
Red Rock Books
Pitch Green and Mojave Green are the first two books in the Dimensions in Death young-adult horror series. Based on a scary story we told as kids to siblings and friends, these books combine horror, suspense and mystery in a fast-paced battle with a monstrous evil presence, hiding in an old, deserted mansion in a small mining town, located in a desolate part of the Mojave Desert near Death Valley.
The mansion was built almost a hundred years ago by an eccentric genius, who got funding and specifications from a clandestine source of ancient knowledge and wealth. One night the genius was mysteriously slaughtered, and ever after, children and other defenseless animals in Trona and the surrounding desert have been disappearing without a trace on a regular basis.
|Hot off the press.|
In the first book, Pitch Green, we meet two teenagers, Camm and Cal, who are destined by wit, pluck and luck (not always good) to become the balancing force against the unearthly predator, who calls the mansion home. Our heroes are hurled from one scene of horror to the next. Though their intentions are good, they don’t understand what they face. By the end of the first book, a door has been left open to predations on an even grander scale.
In the second book, Mojave Green, a call from her best friend, Cal, brings news Camm had hoped never to hear. Children are again disappearing from Trona. Has the unnatural creature they killed last year returned to life or has the ancient Searles Mansion spawned a new menace? Ignoring dire warnings from federal agents, the pair take a road trip home with unsuspecting school friends in tow and discover the situation has gotten worse. With monstrous predators seemingly coming out of nowhere, enigmatic forces tear the friends apart, pulling Cal into another world, where his chances of survival are slim.
|Just 25 miles from|
Finally coming to terms with her feelings for Cal, Camm desperately seeks help where she can, even from the dead, but can a rogue agent and other misfits help her uncover the long-lost secrets needed to rescue Cal and stop inter-dimensional attacks?
The government will be no help. Federal agents on the case do everything they can to catch Camm and stop her. The destiny of her own world may lie solely in Camm’s young hands.
Writing the second book was a different experience for us as co-authors than was the first. The first book was based on a childhood story that we had been telling for years, and the basic plot elements already existed. The second book is a brand new story that has never existed before. It was created from scratch in the last couple years. As co-authors, we had to agree on a whole new plot.
In both books, we were under pressure to make the story as thrilling as possible. We didn’t think in terms of one story being better than the other, just different, but we are definitely excited with the new direction taken by the Mojave Green story. Our fans can expect a faster moving, broader ranging story in the second book, which introduces new characters and covers more territory, both in terms of the desert geography as well as in the depth of the character emotions.
In addition to the careful research of applicable desert geography, which we try to describe as accurately as possible, we had to do in-depth research of basic principles of astro-physics and relativity theory since Mojave Green answers many of the questions of seemingly supernatural happenings raised in the first book, while at the same time raising new questions of its own. But remember, this is not a science fiction series. It is horror based on scientific principles, rather than on magic and mysticism.
|Young-Adult genre is|
Some of our favorite scenes in book two take place as Camm and Cal confront the new predators spawned by the collapse of the guardian systems that were originally built into the Searles Mansion to protect the residents of planet Earth. In solving life-and-death mysteries, our heroes find that mundane pieces of furniture, like an old grandfather’s clock, take on roles of life-saving significance.
Some of our favorite moments in writing and selling the Dimensions in Death books have come as we are able to interact with a few of our fans at book signings and other author events. Initially, we thought that writing a cohesive, compelling story would be the hardest part of the book-selling business. But, when we started trying to find an agent or publisher, who would take our manuscript, we decided that getting published was the hardest part of the business.
After sending out more than 150 query letters, we found a great publisher, Jolly Fish Press, and began the process of trying to sell our books. Now, we’re sure that building a fan base is the hardest part of the business. It’s a good thing it is also the most rewarding part.
As we get ready for the third book in our series, Fatal Green, to come out later in 2015, we’re excited not just for the saga to continue, but also for the opportunity to continue learning and growing in a new business, in a dynamically changing industry, in a world with disappearing boundaries and in a universe limited only by one’s own imagination. It doesn’t get better than this!