Had an interesting email hit my inbox yesterday from Rick over in the US who describes himself as an "avid reader", his words not mine, of my Chronicles of Arkadia series. As well as complimenting my writing and generally saying nice things about the books (thanks Rick - cheque is in the post - only kidding!) he wanted to know where I get my plot lines from and how many books I plan on writing in the series and I thought it might be worth mentioning it on here in case there are any other readers wondering the same things.
I'd love to say that I have a whole raft of plot lines up my sleeve, but in truth I don't. Before I wrote Destiny of the sword I had a brief breakdown of how I saw each chapter going. And by brief I mean brief - perhaps just two or three lines - no more than prompts really. These were then expanded as I came to them, but I never rigidly stuck to them - if better ideas came along and they often did, the plot would head off in a different direction. Redemption of the sword was constructed in much the same way although as I recall there were a lot more changes to the original idea than there were in Destiny. However, Fury of the sword was completely different. This one I had little more than a starting point and a finishing line to work with and was very much made up as it went along.
Purist writers would probably tell you that that isn't the right way to do it, but I say who cares? So long as you get there in the end and the finished product is as good as it can be, why does it matter which route you took? I had a lot more fun writing Fury than I did the other two and I sincerely believe that it was because of this freedom to write whatever came into my head rather than sticking to a rigid plot with a fixed cast of characters. Half the fun of writing Fury of the sword was because of the sudden introduction of characters like Yarik who just came to me one night.
As for how many books I've got planned - none is the honest answer to that. I have started working on book 4, working title Forging of a legend, and I have other ideas loitering in my head, but how many there will be in the series I can't honestly say. A lot of that will be down to my publisher and whether they continue to think the series is viable but rest assured that whilst there's a demand for more adventures for Teren the Terrible, then my typing finger will never be idle.
Thanks again Rick for your support and I hope those answers were what you were looking for.