I often receive mail from readers asking about sequels to my stories, particularly The Frontiersman's Daughter. Readers especially want to know what happened to Captain Jack! Little did I know when I created him that he would be a serious rival to Ian Justus and Lael's heart. You may be surprised to learn that I did write a sequel to Lael's story. In it she and Ian go to Scotland and live at Castle Roslyn. Later, Ian is lost at sea while on a journey of his own and Lael returns to Kentucky to live in the cabin he built for her atop the ridge. Captain Jack returns. And so does Ian...

But the sequel will never see the light of day, rather the bottom of my antique trunk. Here's why from a previous post  ~

When writing a novel a writer should create living people;
people, not characters. A character is a caricature.
--Ernest Hemingway

Ernest and I don't agree on many things but I do like this quote. A good book should be filled with people who are so real that you feel joy when they feel joy and sadness when they feel sadness, among other things. I'm not sure how a writer makes the leap from coming up with a name and then a body and then the soul of a person. But I think good writing captures the soul of a character and somehow puts that on paper.

In The Frontiersman's Daughter, the main character, or protagonist, is Lael. It's an old-fashioned name and I'm not even sure where I came up with it. But I've been carrying Lael around in my head and heart for a long time. She is simply a composite of my childhood - all my old daydreams about those early Kentucky settlers.

When Lael's story was making the round of publishers last year, I finished the sequel to The Frontiersman's Daughter, thinking it would prove I wasn't a one book wonder. But something interesting happened as I worked on this story. I took Lael out of Kentucky and set her in Scotland, a place I've never been. This is always a danger but if you research well enough you can get away with it. I really liked this story and felt it had high drama and passion and all the rest. But half-way through writing the book I started missing Lael. I had lost her voice. That's the only way to describe it. Lael in book 2 was someone else entirely and no matter what I did to make her Lael, she just wasn't. I concluded that Lael's story had been told and there would be no retelling it.

Thankfully, my publisher never asked to see it. If they had, I'm sure they would have told me I had lost Lael somewhere. Instead, the editors asked that I stay in Kentucky and write two more 18th-century novels. Whew! So this non-Lael like book went into the drawer. Maybe at some point I'll get it out, blow the dust off, find a name for this other character, and rewrite. I really like the story.

I guess this points to the mystery of writing fiction. You may think a writer is in control of everything from the pen to the paper to what goes down on paper, but it's my experience that characters, if they're really real, have a life of their own. And that is one of the joys of writing fiction.