How Gilby Got His Own Story

(excerpted from a post originally shared on Jianne Carlo’s blog 6/19/13)

Each book I write has its own journey and its own challenges, and In Season, the sequel to Mating Season, is no exception.

I first concocted Mating Season after the notion of doing a winter-themed work collided in my brain with a wildlife documentary that had inspired me. When Mating Season was released, I had no idea it would become my most popular work. I was flattered and thrilled to see how well readers received it and then shocked when a couple of people mentioned wanting to see more in the series. Huh? Series? I hadn’t thought of doing a sequel to Mating Season, but once the idea was planted in my head, I kept thinking about it.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized Gilby deserved his own story. There were a couple of obstacles, though. In Mating Season, Gilby was a short, chatty fellow who tended to blurt out whatever was on his mind. He was also loyal, brave, and honest. I refused to change him. I think we’ve all read series where the secondary character from an earlier book somehow morphs into an entirely different personality by the time he takes center stage. Gilby wasn’t going to get bigger or quieter or any more tactful. He already had a lot of excellent qualities and was fine the way he was. He just needed to find someone who could see all his good points and love him for his true self. He needed the heroine, Miksa. The challenge, which I hope I succeeded at, was to present Gilby to readers in such a way that they see him as Miksa does.

The second difficulty I faced was to keep the story fresh and flowing well. I didn’t want to repeat what I’d done in Mating Season, but there were certain elements that had to be included because of the first book. Namely, I was still going to have the arctic planet of Jensen, the Children of Nanook (the frost-bear shifters), and the challenge of finding love in a frozen wilderness.

I hate to say something unbearably clichéd like every snowflake is unique, but in the end it did come down to a simple matter of Gilby making In Season special. He’s a very different type of hero, and thus his story has its own flavor. Gilby isn’t like Koll, and his romance with Miksa isn’t either. As for keeping good pacing, I opted to make this work a short novella to prevent the story from lagging or dragging out. Like Gilby, In Season is short and sweet. I really hope readers enjoy it.

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