Book 2 of Merlin's Grove is up for pre-order on June 1. Here's the cover reveal:
I thought I'd do a brief discussion on what I thought my mistakes in Book 1 were and how I went about fixing them for Book 2. Don't get me wrong, though. I still think Book 1 was the best thing I'd written to that point. It's not as serious as some of my earlier stuff, but it had my best prose style, characterization, and plotting.
The main mistake I made in The Overlook was to write a full M/M romance in the quirky town of Merlin's Grove before doing anything else. I used a classic romance plot, and I think that turned out excellent. I had produced a solid contemporary, small town romance.
But then I wanted to layer in some fantasy elements. This worked okay, but I have to agree with some of my less than stellar reviews that the end product is a bit mismatched. The magical elements don't come in until very far into the book, and then it all happens very fast and they're gone again. Those elements aren't even central to the plot.
This disappoints people thinking it's going to be more of a fantasy, and it disappoints people thinking it's going to be small-town M/M. The book ends up being something almost no one wants.
For Book 2 (which happens to be a standalone, so no need to read Book 1 first), I took a much more holistic approach. I made the magical elements a core part of the plot. I made sure the book felt like a coherent whole instead of two separate ideas pushed together. I wrote both aspects at the same time during my outlining phase.
The magical elements are still fairly minor compared to the M/M romance part, but I think readers of both genres will feel a bit more satisfied with the final result. And, for the record, I'm not just trying to satisfy others by doing this. This is the book I wanted to write. I stayed true to the vision of Merlin's Grove. I was just honest about some mistakes I made in Book 1.