This week I decided what my next project is going to be. After finishing The Chimney Rabbit and the Underground Mice, I had several options. I could have written the third book in the series, I could have written something completely unrelated, or (and this is what I’ve decided on) I could write a related but stand-alone book.
So my next novel will be a sort of prequel to The Chimney Rabbit – set several years before, and not featuring Giovanni or Pezzley in starring roles (although we may see some cameos). It’s definitely going to be set in the same world, albeit in a different part of it. Where Book 1 and Book 2 were set in the Great City, a sort of pseudo-London, Book 0 will start in a sort of pseudo-Florence. Which is nice, because it’s a beautiful city that I’ve loved visiting, so reading up on it is turning out to be a pleasure. It turns out that Florence still had its medieval city walls until half-way through the 1800s, which suits my city under siege nicely.
Writing a stand-alone prequel has one big advantage – once it’s complete, I can submit it to agents. That’s something I can’t do with The Chimney Rabbit and the Underground Mice – as a sequel, it can’t stand alone, and nothing will get you rejected more quickly than sending Book 2 in a series to an agent. But a prequel has to stand on its own, so I can pitch it to agents on its own. Also, if the prequel gets any interest, I can use it as an opportunity to offer the first two books, too.
So I’ve started the research and planning, and maybe sometime soon I’ll start the actual writing. The writer Jeremy de Quidt on Twitter said:
There’s only so much background research needed to start a story. Any more is just procrastination.
I’m not quite at the procrastination stage – but it’s approaching fast. With any luck I’ll start getting the words down soon.