The absence or reverse vacation.

I’ve been gone from all social media for a few months now, not on holiday but  taking a reverse vacation. Not a break from work but a break to work. My latest trilogy has been in the most important creative stage, ‘conception’ and like all ‘conception’ it’s the most exciting element of the process. I’ve almost finished the first element of the trilogy and the one that sets the pattern or plot structures for the next two. Bonny. The Butterfly Effect.

Bonny. The Butterfly Effect.
Bonny. The Butterfly Effect.

This story takes a simple but fascinating premise, the butterfly effect, and applies it to the complete Daniel series and The West Cork Trilogy. The three central characters of the series Bonny, Lauren and Daniel are given new paths when one small change in their story has big effects as their path unfolds. That small change is Bonny’s mother’s decision that she should go to Canada to live with her uncle Raymond at age thirteen when she, Ann, dies after a long struggle with cancer. This changes not just Bonny’s path, but Lauren and Daniel’s too. They do not meet her at the critical point in the plot of ‘Conflict‘ the first novel in the series. Their lives now take very different paths and all from a single divergent point in time. The first ripple of the butterfly effect.

(With thanks for the cover design to Sami at: )

This is not a unique idea. I’m sure it must have been done before. I’ve not seen it but it’s such an obviously appealing idea, some other writer must have been tempted.

The temptation to revisit loved characters in this way makes for a fascinating writing challenge full of ‘what ifs’. The new plot lines are evolving in ways that provide a wonderful intellectual and creative buzz. Trying to keep characters true to how they were in the series, while allowing for changes that their new paths create in their personalities and circumstances, is a difficult but rewarding thing.  The whole nature v nurture debate gets explored in the process. When we come to the children of the three, then those differences become even more exciting and challenging. In the original series the three form a polygamous relationship I called the ‘Pyramid.’ In this trilogy, that does not happen but their lives are still intertwined. They still influence and deflect each other.

The energy I’ve needed to weave this complex plot through three novels is the reason for my reverse-vacation. I’ve simply not been prepared to give the time and energy to social media and here is the thing that’s a little disturbing about that – it’s made no measurable difference to my sales. None!

Make what you will of that!

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