Let's flashback to that time when I wrote the first draft of All the Love Songs in a long weekend, shall we?
This was one of the first novels I wrote that I published, and had I had a crystal ball to know how successful and impactful this book would be, I would’ve published it earlier. The writer's doubt hit me hard on that one and, really, the others that I'd finished up until that point. It was my wife who encouraged me to publish and set everything up on Amazon to get the book out there to everyone. I've talked a lot about this book over the years, so I thought I'd talk a little more about the funny thing that happened with No After You.
If you want more insights about All the Love Songs, check out this Book Club Transcript where I talked about it.
I had no plans on telling Dani and Peyton's story. They were side characters in All the Love Songs that I felt would help our two heroines find their way to one another. After All the Love Songs was released, though, people started asking about Dani and Peyton.
At this point, The Chicago Series and a few stand-alone novels had already been released, I was in the middle of another series, and Dani and Peyton's story was already party explained in ATLS. I thought, I could at least review that and see if there's a story there, or if I'd written myself into some trouble with continuity and timeline issues for any possible prequel. I outlined the story as it was explained in ALTS and told my wife I was going to write it. She was, let's say, mildly annoyed because we hadn't planned on there being a prequel, and we already had release schedules to keep up with. This was the first time I'd gone back on saying, "No, it's just one book; it won't be a series," but it won't be the last. It's one of the things she just understands now, but neither of us understood it back then.
I started writing No After You and, honestly, I wasn't really happy with it. I probably got about a third of the way – or maybe it was halfway through – the first draft and let my wife read it, like I do with all my other novels while I'm writing them. Let's just say, she was also unimpressed. My wife is always honest with me about my books. She has her favorites and her "least favorites," as she calls them, which are typically about characters she just doesn't connect with how she does with the others.
Anyway, I realized through her feedback that what I'd done was shrunk the timeline of their relationship because I thought I had to, based on what I wrote in ALTS. I went back and re-read the whole book to make sure I hadn't missed anything that maybe Dani or Peyton or another character had mentioned about them, re-outlined, and re-wrote most of the book. This was my first and still-only prequel, so it was something I had to learn. I gave it to my wife to read again, and that was it: I'd gotten their story.
Finishing No After You, I said, "That's it. Just the prequel," and went back to writing whatever else I was working on. Then, later, I said, "So, I'm thinking about a third book in The Celebrities Series about Maddox, and it takes place in one night. But that'll be it, I promise." Color her surprised when I said, "Maybe there's a fourth, too..."
Genre: Contemporary Lesbian Romance
Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Audible
Length: Series Total - 329,470 words
No After You - 60,000 words - 6 hours and 39 minutes on Audible
All the Love Songs - 112,000 words - 10 hours and 44 minutes
Midnight Tradition - 58,000 words - 5 hours and 57 minutes
Path Forward - 61,000 words - 6 hours and 8 minutes
Series Finale - 31,000 words - 3 hours and 12 minutes