Guest blogger: TM Clark
Spreading the love
An author is often time poor. We’ve got writing, social media, emails, personal appearances to attend, not to mention everyday life of being a mom or dad, you know that thing called a family life, and for many there’s a day job too.
So what happens when an author finds they have readers with insatiable appetites (which we as authors love) and the writer is trying hard to keep up with the demand?
Sometimes, they are able to push more books through quickly to their readers.
But what happens when that author can’t publish more books in a year?
I never set out with the idea of creating multiple stories from one plot across three different formats of books, but by the end of 2015 I knew that I was going to miss 2016 as a year of publication. I was aware that I would have readers feeling let down by the interruption in my annual publishing schedule, so I had to sit down and think outside that box.
In November last year, The Avoidable Orphan, a family novella was first published in a Christmas Assortment Box Set, put together by the amazing Robyn Grady. Once the Christmas season was over she suggested I publish the story as a stand-alone short story on Amazon and iTunes.
So began a whole new chapter in my writing life.
Not only was I now a hybrid author, but that story actually became the origin story of my next book (from a different POV) being published by Harlequin Mira in December 2017. It’s a story that anyone from teens to adults could read. I began getting reader mail, not only from the amazing romance readers community, but also from the YA age groups about this story, and it got me thinking.
What about a younger child wanting to read along with mom and dad? I began my writing career in the children’s industry back in 2005, and I’m still very active in this area with running CYA Conference, I just hadn’t published there for a while.
Enter a small dilemma for me as an author and a light bulb moment.
The parent reading the thick book, the teen on their iPad reading the short story, and the pre-schooler looking through the pictures and reading the ‘same’ story as their parent.
I had another story within ‘the story’ that could be a 32-page picture book, but Mira doesn’t print children’s books, so while I liked my companion book idea how did I get it to fruition?
One story line—three different age groups covered.
To me multi-generation companion books make sense, and I was lucky that the editors of the different publishing houses saw this too. I have no idea how the bookshops are going to pop the two print books together so that new readers know that they are related books, but I hope once they find out, they will embrace the idea and run with it.
Child of Africa will be the first of my Mira books to have companion books and I hope that families get to enjoy the different aspects of the story.
Slowly, Slowly (working title), children’s picture book, will be released in October 2017 (Wombat Books).
Child of Africa (working title) will be released in December 2017 (Mira, Harlequin).
TM Clark has lived in Zimbabwe, South Africa, England, and now calls Australia home. Her novel My Brother-But-One, published in 2013 by Harlequin Mira, was nominated for The Courier Mail 2014 People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award, 2014. Also published are: Shooting Butterflies (2014) and Tears of the Cheetah (2015). Tina Marie runs the CYA Conference in Brisbane, providing professional development for new and established writers and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature.