It’s been eight years since my first Bella Books romance novel, “The Candidate”, hit the shelves. I wrote it when Hillary Clinton ran for president the first time, daring to imagine what it would be like to have a woman in the White House. And not just any woman, but a lesbian.
The book, in all modesty, was a smash hit right out of the gate. I think readers too wanted to imagine a lesbian in the Oval Office, a lesbian who would change things for the better while finding a little romance in the process (okay, not just a little romance, but the love of her life). In any case, the book seemed to resonate with readers. And like all books and characters that linger in the minds of readers, I was asked, pleaded with in some cases, to bring Jane and Alex back.
I have to confess that I’m not much of a sequel writer. I like the challenge of exploring new things with each novel – different characters, new settings, unusual circumstances. Fiction writers are, indeed, like explorers charting new land every time they set out. And when you’re an explorer at heart, you don’t really much care to keep going back to territory you’ve already written about and become intimately familiar with. Or at least, this is true in my case.
Nevertheless, four years after “The Candidate”, I wrote “The Campaign”, which also coincided with another presidential election. It’s a continuation of the Jane and Alex saga, and I’ll leave it at that since I don’t want to chance any spoilers here.
Again, fans clamoured for more. Which mostly fell on my deaf ears. In my heart I knew I probably should write another (third) book in the series, but I always seem to be in the midst of another project.
As 2016 neared and Hillary appeared to be taking another shot at the White House, I finally felt some urgency to revisit my series. And let’s face it, I seem to go at this every four years when there’s a presidential race, so the timing was right. I didn’t have the time to write a full-length novel about Jane and Alex this time, because I’d committed myself to other projects.
But I did have time to write a 9,000-word novelette, called “At Your Service Madam President.” In this story, life in the White House isn’t as idyllic as Jane had hoped, and she calls on a mysterious woman from her past to help her with a thorny issue. The story is an electronic download that can be purchased from Bella Books (www.bellabooks.com) for $1.99. Bella has also bundled “The Candidate”, “The Campaign” and “At Your Service” together for $17.99.
I’m prepared for fans of the series once again calling on me to write more about Jane and Alex, especially because the new story leaves lots of loose ends that could certainly be elaborated on.
So…will I surrender to the series again? Write a third, full-length novel? Or another novelette/novella about Jane and Alex? Time will tell, but I have a feeling I’ll keep getting pulled back!
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