The Challenge of the Mountain

Song newI’m slowly closing on Fire on the Mountain. Never before have I written a novel with this much fan anticipation. I kind of like it! But the pressure is on. Book one, Song of the Mountain, took semi-finalist honors in the Kindle Book Review 2013 Book Awards and was nominated for a Cybils Award. It’s gotten superb ratings and been often touted as my best work to date. That’s a lot to live up to!

To make things doubly difficult, Song was never intended as a sequel. But when I read through it again last summer, I discovered so many unanswered questions: Where did Li-Min get the dagger, the heirloom box, the blue robe? How long did he wander the earth anticipating his task and searching for the Chosen One? How did he hook up with Kintu? Who were the other three members of the Wise and what were their tasks? How did the Wise originate? What was so significant about Kamiratan anyway? How did the Keeping Stone come to be? And who were Song’s parents?

Fire on the Mountain is the story of Song’s father, Quon. In writing it, I have attempted to answer some of these mysteries and flesh out a history for Li-Min and the world in which Song lives. (The remainder will be answered in book three.) That means I had to stay within the very strict perimeters already outlined in book one. It feels something like digging a tunnel from both ends.

The greatest challenge I ran into was the fact that readers already know the final tragedy. There can be no surprise endings. So I had to look for other ways to make this story as exciting and intriguing as Song’s. Also, this one had to span years, not weeks. By the end, Quon must be a young father (of Song, of course). But to give it appeal to tweens, I start him at age thirteen. Therefore, the scope of the story became much broader. But Fire on the Mountain, I believe, maintains the same mythical focus, uses the same picturesque language, and still has the stylized feel of a legend. I hope it lives up to everyone’s expectations.

I’ll post a sneak peek in a week or two. It’s on schedule for an April first release. If you haven’t read book one, it is now free everywhere. Check my sidebar for links.

6 thoughts on “The Challenge of the Mountain

  1. Michelle, I am really looking forward to reading Fire on the Mountain. Will go back and review Song again to remind me of the story. Song of the Mountain is among your best, as is your trilogy. But, they are two different pieces of work. Can’t wait.

    1. Yay! My blog is back online! 😉

      Thanks, Pat. Yeah, this is easier than historical fiction (way less research) but it was a lot tougher to write than my last two projects (both Taylor Davis). Much more literary and thought-provoking. I actually finished revisions two nights ago. I’m letting it set for a week or two before a final read-through. I think it turned out pretty well. Hope it lives up to the expectations!

  2. I very much appreciate your sharing the dilemmas of writing a sequel. I am running into similar issues, with a different twist of course. But how exciting to think of writing for an existing readership! I hope I get to experience that kind of pressure some day. I’m also going to buy your books when I’ve worked my way through my current pile, because you’re an inspiration, Michelle. Way to go.

    1. Thanks, Gretchen! My audience is small. Very small! But this series is actually gaining readers. Yay!
      You don’t have to buy book one. It’s free. 🙂
      Sharon Ledwith wrote a great blog piece about writing sequels. It’s one of my favorites on the subject. Though I’ve now written three sequels, I still took some tips from her. I’ll see if I can did it up…
      I can’t find it. I’ll see if she can and if she’ll post it on the Tween Readers site.

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