After Verus

So with Alex Verus #12 creeping slowly but steadily onwards, I thought I’d talk a bit about something different – the ‘what are you going to write next?’ question.  I’ve been asked it a ton of times by now, but it’s difficult to give a good answer because I’m not sure myself what the answer is.  

I’m definitely going to keep on writing full-time, and the odds are pretty good that I’m going to end up doing another series.  I’ve played around with the idea of doing a standalone novel just for a change, but I don’t know if I will.  I’ve always liked long stories – I like the sense of adventure you get from setting off on a journey where you get to see the characters grow and change along the way.  And writing a story as a series rather than as one giant doorstopper makes it more manageable to write and read.  

On the other hand, starting a new series completely from scratch is a scary prospect.  A book series is a huge investment of time and effort and there’s no guarantee that it’ll pay off.  I’ve got a decent-sized readership these days, but just because they like the Alex Verus books doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll like the next thing I write too.  

The other possibility is to write another series set in the Alex Verus universe, using the same setting and possibly some of the same characters as well.  In a lot of ways it’s the safe option, because I know I’ve got a guaranteed group of readers who’d be interested.  The problem is that it feels a lot like too safe an option – it feels a lot like treading water.  Spin-off series are pretty much never as successful as the original, and I’ve always had the feeling that that’s because they’re inherently less interesting.  

There’s also the fact that doing something new and scary was how I got the Alex Verus series in the first place.  When I wrote the first draft of what would eventually turn into Fated, I’d never written anything like an urban fantasy novel before.  If I hadn’t been willing to take the risk and try something new, I’d probably never have made it.  

That said, assuming I do a new series, I’ve got the feeling I’d like to stay broadly within the urban fantasy genre.  I’ve written books in a lot of genres in the past – children’s, children’s fantasy, science fiction, adventure, and even an epic fantasy novel that holds the dubious honour of being the only book of mine that I’ve ever abandoned a few chapters in.  I like all those genres in their own way, but there’s something about urban fantasy that really appeals to me in a way that others don’t.  It has all the things I like about epic fantasy, while still being tied closely to our world.  

But as to what kind of urban fantasy . . . well, I’m still figuring that out.  I’ll let you know when I do!

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11 Responses to After Verus

  1. nicola says:

    Being a reader and knowing nothing about writing, I can only wish you luck! A second series has a completely different set of challenges than the first one, and may be even more difficult to write than the previous one.

  2. James says:

    I’m sad in that really good way when a series comes to a close and you don’t want it to. But I’m excited to see what will come next. I would love to read another urban fantasy series if that’s where it ends up.

  3. Tim says:

    I love the Alex Verus series. When it’s over I’ll look forward to your next series.

    If you stay in the Verusverse I’m probably a sure sale for whatever you write. But you’re right about spin off series.

    If you branch out I’ll probably only give you 5, maybe 10 books, before I decide the series is not for me. 😀

    I’d love to see you do a new series, and throw in the occasional stand along novel in the verusverse.

  4. I would love to see what you would do with some Steam or Solar punk. I feel, however, no matter what your heart and head agree on in your future, you’ll always have us readers clamouring for more.

  5. Dero says:

    You write very well, so I’m very interested in any stories you produce in the future.

    That being said, why not try both approaches? Try something new – and if it doesn’t work, go back and try a spin off? Or maybe a collection of short stories within the Alex Verus world?

  6. Alan says:

    I’m rereading the entire series again. It’s immensely enjoyable. I love the Verus universe and would like it to continue, but as an author I understand you can’t get too locked in to writing just the one story. Needless to say whether you go for a continuation or something new, I’m in. Thanks for your work.

  7. Darius says:

    I’m sad that the series is coming to an end, but what a series! I have read a lot of urban fantasy and Alex Verus so far has been the best I’ve ever read. If the next series is as good as this one I’ll certainly be a fan.

    Best of luck.

  8. Andrew Davis says:

    If you do something in the same universe, maybe play out the Rune Gate war. It’s in a different era that would allow you to play with style. Another option could be a fantasy story set in the precursor War era you set up where you do something not touched upon in the veras books. Either of those would allow you to write in-universe but have a totally separate and detached story.

  9. Holly says:

    But but but..!! Part of me wants the Alex Verus series to be like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld with 40+ novels! The full weight of the last novel hasn’t fully gotten to me yet, as I’ve only just started Bound so I still have a few more to go before the end. However, I’m growing increasingly morose the closer I come to finishing this series. I actually stumbled upon it by searching through Audible for other books narrated by Gildart Jackson after gobbling up his performance of Peter Grainger’s DC Smith series (highly recommended if you’re looking for a good British police procedural) and couldn’t be more elated that I found it and that Gildart performs it. It’s almost as though the books were written for him to read aloud, it’s amazing. The books are amazing as well, by far my favorite urban fantasy series to date! Because of that, I would love for you to continue in that genre, you navigate through it with incredible skill and humor to boot. Maybe a prequel series, delving into any number of the historical events of the mage world referenced throughout the series? Truly, anything you do will likely be exceptional, the only thing I fear is the pressure that comes from having an established fan base. I can imagine that it’s almost easier to write when you’re unknown, as people don’t expect you to write a certain way or on a certain topic. So I hope that you’re able to find a subject matter and storyline you are passionate about, rather than one that you (or your editor/publisher) feel you must. As long as you do that, anything you write will be incredible! Whatever you decide, keep fighting the good fight!

  10. John P says:

    I’ve loved the Alex Verus stories, but I’m glad they’re coming to an end. Not because I don’t want more (I really, really do – more of these characters, more of this world, more of everything!) but because these characters deserve a great ending. So I’m looking forward to the last two books – and to re-reading all the books regularly, as I already do.

    It’s so hugely refreshing that you keep upping the stakes book after book, while keeping the focus so personal. It gets tiring to read these series where the world’s going to end every book until the heroes save it. The stakes are so high for Alex and his friends, and the rest of British magical society, but they’re *personal* stakes and I think that’s fantastic!

    As to what next: I think you’re right and you have to write the stories that matter to you. I was drawn to the Alex Verus books because of the characters and the way you’ve built the world so skilfully and gradually, so I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy whatever you write next!

  11. William says:

    You’re one of my fave authors, I have faith whatever you will output will be glorious 🙂

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