I am so excited to have Jay Posey stopping by WFTM again, this time in support of his new release Morningstar Falls. This is the second book in his Legends of the Duskwalker series, which started with the fantabulous Three (one of my favorite reads for 2013). Today he stops by to discuss telling his story from the point of view of a different main character than in Three. Also as a note, Morningstar Falls is on presale on Amazon right now for just $5! Take it away, Jay!
On Changing Horses Midstream
My latest book Morningside Fall is the second novel in a trilogy, and it picks up a little over a year after the first book (titled Three) ends. Perhaps a little unusually, the main character of the second book isn’t the same as the first. The main characters of Morningside Fall are Cass and Wren, mother and son, and though they’re both returning characters from Three, neither of them were the primary point-of-view for the first book. Having a different lead character (or two) for the second book brought its own pros and cons; some creative advantages along with some interesting challenges.
First, the pros. Probably unsurprisingly, using different leads gave me the opportunity as a writer to explore the world through different eyes and to experience everything from perspectives I hadn’t necessarily spent a lot of time with in the first novel. I was in Wren’s head especially a lot more in the sequel, and it was good for me creatively to see what life was like for him both internally and externally. It also gave me the opportunity to give readers more insight into these characters than they would have gotten otherwise.
Using different characters also gave me a new palette of challenges, obstacles, and threats to work with over the course of the story. It opened up a lot of interesting possibilities for me, knowing that things that wouldn’t have been much of an issue for Three (the main character of the first novel) could be a matter of life and death for young Wren, for example. New challenges forced me to find new solutions and took me in directions I probably wouldn’t have explored otherwise.
Finally, I wanted Morningside Fall to be its own story, not just a rehash of the one I’d told in the first book, and adopting new main characters let me experiment with a different tone and theme. It forced me to think about everything from a different perspective, rather than falling back on things I knew had worked before. It was scary and frustrating at times, but it was good to challenge myself, to test my own limits, and hopefully to grow as a writer through the process.
Which obviously means it wasn’t all smooth sailing, and there were definitely some downsides. I wasn’t nearly as comfortable with Cass and Wren as I had been writing Three. Three was a character I felt I’d known for a long time, and as strange as it may sound, I trusted him enough to know that he’d be able to adapt and overcome whatever I threw at him. Cass and Wren are both strong characters in their own right, but I didn’t have the same confidence in myself when it came to writing them, and at times I struggled with not being sure whether I was pulling punches or not. It’s a weird experience to feel like your characters are better people than you might be able to convey. That really slowed me down more than I had been expecting.
And the big thing: I had no idea how The Audience was going to react to the transition. I spent a lot of time fretting over that with the second book; a debut novel is a nerve-wracking experience all its own, but at least with the first book I didn’t feel the pressure of Expectation hovering over me. With the sequel, I knew there would be people out there waiting to see where I took things next, and the fear of disappointing them was pretty strong. I probably let it get into my head more than I should have, especially since there was no way for me to know how people would react until I actually wrote the thing and got it out there for them to read.
Ultimately, I’m pleased with the story I was able to tell with Morningside Fall, and even though it was a significant challenge for me, I’m glad that I pushed through with my original intent to focus on the characters that I did. I hope my readers feel the same way.
Thanks for stopping by, Jay! I highly recommend that you guys all read these books because they are fantastic. Here's a bit more about Morningstar Falls. Just a reminder, there are MASSIVE SPOILERS for Three in the description.
Releases April 29, 2014
The lone gunman Three is gone, and Wren is the new governor of the devastated settlement of Morningside, but there is turmoil in the city. When his life is put in danger, Wren is forced to flee Morningside until he and his retinue can determine who can be trusted.
They arrive at the border outpost, Ninestory, only to find it has been infested with Weir in greater numbers than anyone has ever seen. These lost, dangerous creatures are harbouring a terrible secret – one that will have consequences not just for Wren and his comrades, but for the future of what remains of the world.