Over a year ago I had, what I thought at the time was a brilliant idea to weave together the Kindred Series (Seeds of a New Birth, etc.) with the FreeForm series. After all, both storylines have at their core the mishaps that can take place with genetic engineering. The more I looked into this the better I liked the idea. I figured I could connect the two by sharing characters and merging them into the same world. For example, the opening scene of FreeForm (book one of the FreeForm series) has a helicopter pilot and the climatic ending scene of Seeds of a New Birth (Book one of the Kindred Series) also has a helicopter pilot.
So, what if these two pilots turned out to be the same man? After all, the early scenes of FreeForm occurred in the early 90s with Seeds of a New Birth happening around 2010-12. It was certainly feasible for James Stepp, the pilot, to be one and the same.
Of course, my fertile mind couldn’t stop there. I next decided to weave stories together further by having Pat Vogt, one of the protagonists of FreeForm make an appearance in Seeds of a New Power (book two of the Kindred series) as the investigator helping to find the Kindred. This was becoming a lot of fun.
And maybe I should have stopped there, but I didn’t. You see, at the same time, I was in the midst of writing Fantastic Fables of Foster Flat–a series of interconnected short stories each with their own twist. These stories not only took place in the same small mountain town of Foster Flat, but they were told by a young reporter, Mimi Rawlins. Turns out, Mimi was best friends with Kendra, the babysitter who helped Dr. Allan Pritchard raise TJ in FreeForm. So, why not have her make an appearance in the Kindred Series as well? She does towards the end of Seeds of a New Power and again in the Kindred series book three, Seeds of a New Earth (which is still being written).
Brilliant or Really Bad Idea?
Yes, that is the question that I’ve pondered back and forth for several months now. At this point, I’d have to say it’s been both: brilliant in that it’s been a lot of fun and has really stretched my imagination, and “bad idea” in that it has also stretched my writing and organizational abilities more than I could have imagined at the start of this process.
Of course, only time will tell whether this experiment will pan out. The true test is whether or not my readers enjoy how the stories are interconnected. So far, early returns and reviews have been quite positive. I’m keeping my fingers crossed (which makes it just that much harder to type this blog post).
Bringing Order to Chaos
Recently a writing and reading buddy of mine turned me on to Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria series of books by giving me an autographed copy of The Death of Dulgath. In the Author’s Note section at the beginning of the book, Sullivan laid out both the publication order as well as the chronological order of the series. As a new reader just coming to the series, I found this to be quite helpful so I’m going to do my best to bring a similar order to my own chaotic writing world.
Chronological Order (and ideally the order in which to read the series).
FreeForm (available on Amazon)
FreeForm Reborn (available on Amazon)
FreeForm 3 (outlined and ready to be written during NaNoWriMo 2017)
Seeds of a New Birth (available for free HERE.)
Seeds of a New Power (available on Amazon)
Seeds of a New Earth (available on Amazon)
Fantastic Fables of Foster Flat is not actually part of the series but does have a light connection as described above.
Introducing the Saga of the Dandelion Expansion
Whenever I have what appears to be an insurmountable problem, I go to my wife, Ann, for her input and suggestions — usually after beating my head against the proverbial wall way too long.
So, while out to dinner last week we discussed where to go with this merging process and how to make it work for my readers. I told Ann I wanted to come up with an over-arching title that could encompass both series as well as any other spin-offs that occur in this same universe.
On her way to the restroom, I suggested she keep her eyes open for a clue to what the over-arching title could be. She came back with the image of a dandelion. I then continued the brainstorming a few days later with one of my writing buddies who’s intimately familiar with both series.
Thus the Saga of the Dandelion Expansion was born.