After Friday’s disastrous news that my publisher, Booktrope, will cease operations at the end of May, I, like most of the other authors, editors, proofreaders, and cover designers, spent the weekend wallowing in disbelief, anger, despair, and any other emotion you’d like to throw in there. As the shock wears off, we are now left with the question of what happens next. Wait until our rights are returned to us and republish? Find another publisher? Let their books fade into oblivion?
A lot of my fellow Booktropers, or ex-Tropers as we have dubbed ourselves, are already making plans to move forward. Some will self-publish; others will seek another publisher. Sadly, some have said they are done, that the potential for this happening again is not worth the paltry returns they might receive for their work.
I’m not sure which direction I will go. In all honesty, seeing the legal web we’re now tangled in as we wait for the company to answer the hundreds of questions now flying around on their website and in the Facebook group, I am hesitant to sign any kind of contract with anyone ever again. Self-publishing looks like a good option, but having done that before and seeing how hesitant many bookstores were to carry a self-published book, I am hesitant to go that direction as well.
Here’s what I do know: The Kyrie Carter series will go on, but there will be some changes.
I am a Christian, so at the end of the day, my faith is not in what I can do for myself, or in what a publisher can do for me, but in what God can do, and He gave me a plan yesterday that I am going to move forward with as soon as my head settles enough to think straight. I do not have all the details yet, but I know He does. I’d like to tell you what I do know.
I am not going to re-release The Newbie and School Spirits, at least not in their present form. They will still be paranormal mystery, and the plot will be the same, but there will be a little different spin. This decision has not come easily, and I have deeply grieved it as though it were the death of a person. These books are a piece of my life, and I love them almost as much as I love my flesh-and-blood children. But I feel that in order to move on, I need to lay them to rest.
I am just about halfway through Book 3, and as I said in my previous post, I’ve been much more in Kyr’s head about the struggle between her religious upbringing and her experiences with the paranormal. That aspect has been completely glossed over if mentioned at all in the first two books, and it seems disjointed to me. Since I already have Book 4 partially laid out in my head, and I know that the faith/paranormal struggle becomes even more of an issue in that book, for the purposes of continuity, I need to address the issue from the very start of Kyr’s story.
The fact also remains that much of Kyr’s struggle is in truth a bit autobiographical; I have had many of the same experiences, questions, and doubts that Kyr has. These novels have been a way for me to explore my own questions, fears, struggles, and doubts. After years of studying the Bible and talking to others and reading up on the subject, I feel as though I have come to a place where I am comfortable with who I am, what I know, and what I will never know. God has met me where I am and given me some answers, and He has told me to stop spending so much time and energy seeking other answers.
This is where yesterday’s revelation comes in. What I am planning to do is to revise Books 1 and 2 to get more in her head and show that conflict more clearly. It will also be a way for me to document my own journey with the paranormal as seen through the eyes of someone with a Christian upbringing. If I let myself think about the nightmare this will be as far as placing it into a genre, it scares me. Is it mystery? Is it paranormal? Is it Christian? Is it some kind of Pseudo-Memoir?
Not. A. Clue.
It certainly won’t be your typical vanilla Christian fiction. The paranormal subject matter is only one aspect of the story that some of my Christian friends may be uncomfortable with. Kyr’s faith is often shaky at best, and her friends, relatives, and colleagues cover just about every worldview you can think of, and as open-minded as Kyr is, very few of those worldviews are painted as evil or wrong. There is also romance in the Kyrie Carter series, but it also isn’t what you’d expect to see in a work of Christian fiction. Kyr has made the commitment to remain a virgin until her wedding night, but as she gets more involved with Spook, she struggles with her desire for him. Do I give in, or do I remain faithful to my personal vow? In our hyper-sexualized world, I think it’s something that single people deal with.
For those who aren’t Christian, I hope that the faith aspect of the stories won’t turn you away. There is a little preaching going on, mostly on the part of Kyr’s highly-opinionated, strictly-religious oldest brother, but for the most part it’s about Kyr wrestling with her own demons and learning how to make her beliefs her own. In biblical terms, she is “working out her salvation with fear and trembling” (Phillippians 2:12). There are other belief systems present in this story, just as there are in real life. She comes in contact with atheists and pagans, and Spook has dealt with Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. She does not outright reject anyone or anyone’s beliefs, but weighs them and tests them to determine what she might learn from them, much the same as I do.
Anyway, I’m very tired, and I’m getting to the point where I’m going to start babbling (maybe I’ve already started, judging by the length of this post). I just wanted to put something out there to assure my friends and followers that I may step back for a bit while I figure out what’s next. As I said, I don’t know what avenue I’ll take as far as publishing, and I don’t know what the final product will look like.
But Kyrie Carter’s adventures will go on.