Here’s the thing, friends. Some of you read The Talents (or maybe you read it when it was called The Candidates). Some of you (a strong but mighty few) read The Marked (or maybe you read the ARC, when it was called The Watchers). And an even smaller, lovely, loyal, wonderful group of you have even asked me (more than once) where the last book in the series, The Chosen, had gone.
And I’ve been putting you off. For years. So I’m going to tell you exactly what happened, but because I’m a real human being and not just a bot, it would be awesome if you’d be nice to me about it, K? Because it’s story of missteps, failures, redirections, insecurity, and laziness. If you share any of these things with me, then please, read on. If not, please continue with your life and pretend you never saw this.
Part one: I write The Candidates (Taking Sides)
In this part, I wrote the book, never intending it to be a series. My lovely agent convinced me to pitch it as a series, which I did. I had one VERY IMPORTANT plot thread that I always intended to be a part of the story that I moved to the third book. This plot thread, you will learn if you read The Chosen, is not pretty. But it’s important. And it was a central part of the story from the beginning. It’s why the school is called Delcroix. It’s why Cam’s role in the book (is he good or bad?) was always intended to be a little bit ambiguous. It’s why I wrote the damn book, to explain something I was thinking about a lot in those days.
Ahem. I can’t explain any of that until you read the third book. So there.
Oh, and my lovely agent got a two book deal for The Candidates. Though it was now intended to be a three-book series.
First lesson for new writers: don’t agree to a two book deal if you’re planning three books. Three book series always lose market share as the series progresses. It’s just the way the market works. So unless the first book is a huge success, you probably won’t sell the third. And that will break your heart in many ways.
Part two: The Candidates flops
In this part, despite paying me a large advance and me working with an amazing editor, The Candidates is not a NY Times bestseller. It doesn’t come close to being the kind of success Disney had hoped. My chance of selling a third book becomes very very slim. Book Two of the series is put off, the series is rebranded, we move forward. I cry a lot.
Part three: The Marked flops even harder
Say no more. I cried a lot more. No one wanted to buy the third book in a series that wasn’t a hit. I wrote another YA, which I loved, but didn’t sell. My heart broke in a thousand little pieces.
But sometime during this period of heartache, my adult romance novels (I started writing adult romance first; YA grew out of that) began doing surprisingly well. I didn’t hit any big lists, but I was way more successful with my adult romance than with my YA. Meanwhile, I quit my job as a lawyer (which I didn’t love) and got a new job as a professor (which I did).
Second lesson for new writers: keep writing. You never know what will stick. Also, in all things, follow your heart. That path may occasionally leave you unemployed and desperate, but it may also bring you to the thing you always wanted but never thought you could have.
Part four: I tried to write The Chosen
Somewhere in here I got about halfway through writing The Chosen. I was going to self-publish it or publish it with Entangled (the publisher of my adult romance) which had offered to bring it out. But I didn’t want to commit to writing it for Entangled because I wasn’t sure if I could keep the deadline. I was starting a new job and also writing my adult stuff. I figured I could just self-publish.
Reality was, I didn’t ever finish. I had a new job that–go figure–I loved. I mean really loved (and still love). The YA that didn’t sell back in part three? I self published it and it didn’t exactly hit any lists. I lost my heart for throwing myself into projects that people didn’t really want to read.
Third lesson for new writers: I regret not signing that contract with Entangled and having a hard deadline to write the book. I was emotionally beat-up after releasing first two Delcroix books, and I let that push me away from committing to write the third, even though I really wanted to tell that last part of the story. I don’t advocate getting in over your head with deadlines you can’t meet, but sometimes it’s important to have someone (an editor, a publisher), telling you to write the story, especially if you’re feeling insecure or unsure if you can finish it.
Part four: in which my life changes
This July, my family moved to be closer to my new job. I continue to love it. I do a LOT of writing, but it’s academic stuff. I write about climate change, and corporate social responsibility, and renewable energy. I am working with undergraduate students who want to make a difference in the world. They inspire me and make me want to be a part of making a better world.
I’m not trying to make a living writing anymore. I love my job way too much. And that means I get to do what I really want. Write books that thrill me and make me fall in love. Have fun. Not care if I don’t sell many copies.
GIVE MY BOOKS TO THE 10 PEOPLE WHO WILL LOVE THEM AND FORGET THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T.
It’s been eight years since I wrote The Candidates. That’s a long time. Though Dancia and Jack are still very real in my mind, the story is dim. I want to move forward, and honestly, I wish I could have said two years ago that Delcroix was done and I could move on. But there’s one thing that really holds me back: remember that thing I moved into book three? That was an important part of the story? I needed to write it. I needed to share it.
Which brings us to…
Part five: in which I put my heart in your hands
So here’s the honest truth. I’m not going to make this into a pretty, polished, finished story. I’m not. But I’ve got about 5/6 of the book written, including The Thing I wanted to share with you. So I’ve decided to put that up on Wattpad and let you all read it. I haven’t edited it. Other than a basic spell check, it’s not copy edited. There’s stuff in it that doesn’t make sense. But if you really really want to know what happens to Dancia, Cam, Jack, and the rest of the gang…well, read it, and you’ll know as much as I do.
I don’t know anything about Wattpad. But I’ve heard it’s a great place for people to post their work and share it (free!) with others. Tonight, I posted The Chosen there. The part I’ve written. It’s not finished. But the important stuff is out there. I’m totally okay with you deciding for yourself what happens next.
Check out Wattpad.com. There’s apps and whatnot, or you can visit on the interweb. Just search for Inara Scott and you’ll find it.
So that’s my story. I’m glad I finally get to share it with you.
Now, I’ve got some Christmas cookies to make.
Inara, over and out