I was looking back over my posts here, and by chance, while I was looking for something else,came across something I had written after I had written the first two novels in my Radwinter series. The first book was written in the same way as all my novels, as a stand alone story… however… because it was the story of a family, the genealogical story of the Radwinters, just writing about the paternal line wasn’t enough… unexpectedly I found myself writing a sequel, which became ‘Magick’ about the family maternal line.
I never in a million years dreamed I would write two more, about the parents of the Radwinter brothers, and then another novel which completed their story… so I thought! I am three-quarters way through a fifth novel, and there is a sixth waiting in the wings.
So… it is fascinating to look back at what I wrote when I had finished the second novel, and was unexpected;y considering the third:
About eighteen months ago, early in 2013, I first began to pull together some thoughts which had been swirling for a while. I had some characters who would be brothers in my story… I didn’t know exactly who they were or what their names were or what the story line would be. I did have a few wisps of narrative also floating round and wondered whether I could weave the characters into the possible plots I had.
I had four brothers, an older severe one, maybe a priest; the next brother would be charming but a little bit feckless… maybe a singer in some not-quite-made-it band? Or a painter, dedicated but never quite lucky enough to sell his paintings? Another brother, a bit of a bruiser, who would succeed in whatever his line was, a bit of a fighter so if things went wrong he’d pick himself up and start all over again. The youngest would be sweet and kind and a bit dreamy, maybe a primary school teacher.
I found a name for my family, Radwinter, and lost the second brother but gained a much younger one, the baby of the family, and a bit babyish maybe but very clever. I played about with names for them, maybe they should all have names beginning with the same letter… or maybe not… I have been accused of having weird names for the people in my stories, so maybe I should settle for more ordinary names… the apostles? Mark became Marcus, and John stayed as John, but then Paul arrived… and the baby of the family… Nicholas maybe? No… Thomas.
I kicked off my story in November last year as part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge… and the story of the Radwinters was born. ‘Radwinter’ traced the family history of the brothers, back to 1841 and the first Thomas Radwinter appeared on the census. I finished and edited and worked on the story and published it last February. However, I was very conscious that in every family there are two family trees, as well as the paternal, the maternal line.
As just a personal exercise I began to write the story of the Radwinter brothers’ maternal line… and so my novel ‘Magick’ arrived… and I published that in the summer.
…And that was it; ‘Radwinter’ and its’ sequel ‘Magick’… except the story isn’t quite finished… there are unresolved issues… what happened to the brothers’ parents? Why did their father Edward, known as Raddy, leave home? What happened to their mother Sylvia that she gradually descended into alcoholism and died young? How had they affected the four boys?
For my own satisfaction I have started to write the story of Sylvia and Edward, and some of the other unfinished plot lines are being resolved… will this be good enough to be published? Will this become part three? Will I write a trilogy? I will only be able to answer that question when I’ve finished writing the story of Raddy and Sylvia!