The Epic Series

Series have fallen out of favor in publishing. You might not believe it, having read the 342nd Harry Dresden novel, but you have to trust me on this one. It’s rare for an author to follow through on a series with a publisher now, because the sales of a first book make or break a series. There are tales of authors who have lost the ability to write a series because sales petered out. There are also strange tales of authors whose characters sell extraordinarily well, and suddenly a series must be created from a vacuum where no such series existed intentionally.

Well. Here I am, writing a series. The first volume of the series was accepted by a small press, and the second volume was rejected. The press shortly thereafter folded. Those two events are not related, by the way. I was a lucky writer. The first volume’s rights reverted to me, and I could continue the story. However, no traditional publisher would ever want to publish a book that’s already been published, and even if such were the case and I could have the book published by someone else, the chances of me getting to publish seven books of a four-generation family saga were slim, especially in a traditional publishing venue.

So, here I am self-publishing the Klaereon Scroll series, and I am very happy doing so. Writing a long series, however, creates certain special challenges. I am constantly aware of how I am writing one book at a time, but I am also writing one really long book constantly. I have to think forward and backward, especially since one of my characters is a prophet. In early books I place seeds for later books that may seem to go nowhere for observant readers. For very observant readers, the payoff is that these early seeds come to fruition elsewhere in the series. I won’t pretend to be an author who knows everything that is going to happen in this long endeavor, but sometimes you are kind enough to plant seeds for yourself that dovetail quite nicely, and therein you are a lucky author.

The Klaereon Scroll series spans seven books, probably five novellas, and the occasional short story. Every character has the potential to be another story. Alexander Claudian, a support character from The Wrath of Horus gets his own novella. Amanda Welkin, a support character from The Prisoner of Set, may even get a book of her own. Even seemingly throw away references, like those about Leto and Leonides Klaereon moving a house through the Abyss, or Cyril Klaereon writing a book of shadows made of shadows, could get a story.

These are the foundations upon which an epic saga is built, the idea that this story has been going on long before you got here, and that this story will continue once you close book seven. I have no intention of writing only Klaereon books during my writing career, but honestly, there is one other reason I am writing an epic. It is because the characters call the shots, and I have very little choice in the matter.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.