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My Hectic Author Life: From Novel to Serial, the Evolution of Canton Ghost Town Part 1

Title cover for My Hectic Author Life Blog featuring a book body stick figure with author, Kat Satava's head

Hello! Welcome back for another entry of My Hectic Author Life, where once a week (okay, well really 90% of the time it will happen once a week) I share the glitz, glam, and topics piquing my interest this week. In this week's entry, I wanted to talk about the evolution of my soon-to-debut Canton Ghost Town: Season One - The Harvest from a novel in a series into a multi-season supernatural serial. Due to the length of this journey, it has been broken into two parts. Come back this Sunday for Part 2.

Black and white picture of a town intersection, a redhaired woman's face in the foreground text reading Canton Ghost Town Season One The Harvest by Kat Satava

As many of you know my first book Nightmares and Stars is a novel... a fabulously long get-your-money's-worth-in-words first book in a fantasy series. Most would expect my second writing endeavor would be the next book in that series, however, I had another story and storytelling style that refused to wait its turn. The Serial.

So, what's a Book Serial?

Without getting too technical, let's talk about what a "serial" is in terms of narrative and creative writing. Mihaela Bidilică in her article for Publish Drive, Book Serials vs. Book Series. What’s the Difference? gives one of the best definitions:

"Book serials, often simply referred to as serials, are literary works published in sequential installments rather than as complete, standalone books. A serial is a continuing narrative that must be read in the proper sequence to understand the plot."

Now that we are all on the same page as to what a Serial is, let's talk about Canton Ghost Town.

(Oh, before I forget, Book Two in The Witch War series, Mirages & Sunfire, is in the works for all of you who were worried about having started another series abandoned by its author midway through.)

black border textured red background, there are highlighted symbols, a book titled Canton Ghost Town, there is a quote from the book

Canton Ghost Town (CGT) is my five-episode supernatural serial about a female detective in a small Northern AZ town trying to catch a serial killer in 1977. What's supernatural about that you ask?

Well the SK she is looking for murdered her too and she is still trying to solve the case...from the other side. Dun-dun-duuuunnnn!

But CGT was not always going to be a serial or about ghost detectives or take place in 1977. Let's Tarantino this back to 2013, before The Witch War was even conceptualized and Canton was the backdrop to another story.

I created the town of Canton, AZ out of all the parts I love about my diverse state, as the perfect setting for a vampire series. I went hard to work on the first book I was 65,000 words in when I had a terrible accident involving porch steps after a holiday party, that looking back I should have drank at, resulting in breaking both my ankles on my birthday.

A collage of three pictures of a red haired woman and the text Detective Josephine Jo Callahan

Yes, it was as bad as you just imagined. The hobbling scene in Misery literally makes me vomit and if you stumble like you are going to fall it will make me cry at minimum, hyperventilate at most. Now as traumatizing as this event was, without it, I may not have ever written Nightmares and Stars, had I not experienced it. I tried finishing the novel I was working on while I was rehabbing my ankles in a convalescent home, but morphine and writing do not mix. I found after a three-hour writing marathon I had written the same paragraph in slightly different ways for nine pages.

Feeling defeated, I, like many baby authors, put the unfinished project in a drawer promising myself that as soon as I was off the meds I would resume working on it.

A collage of three pictures of a dark haired man with blue eyes and the text Detective Francis Frank Kep Kepple

As you might have guessed, that story remained in the drawer like an unclaimed Jane Doe in a cold case. I moved on to other things like purple-haired witch princesses and world-building an epic fantasy realm.

The town of Canton waited, comatose, for me to decide what to do with it.

I was torn, you see. When I went back and read this first attempt at novel writing it was hard to not be critical of the writer I was a decade ago. I wondered if it made more sense to just throw it away as something I had gotten out of my system to at least start. The mistake that had to be made to learn what to do better and what not to do at all. A way to hone my craft, so my skills were better for Nightmares & Stars.

A ereader with a black and white cover of Canton Ghost Town Season one episode one the Harvest kat satava

But then there would be a section of really good shit, you know? A section that really captured an image or moved me in an unexpected way, and I could see it. I could see the path to make it better. But just not right then.

Having decided to re-write a whole new second half of NAS during its fourth re-write, being a full-time mom, a full-time employee, and a part-time employee at two different companies in the community behavioral health system (translate to 60-hour work weeks for multiple years). Needless to say, if NAS was ever getting published, I had to utilize all my creative energy for just it. Not follow the siren serenade of a new project.

So back in the drawer, it would go.

There would be some time that would pass and events that would have me reaching for that drawer. I can't wait to share the rest of the story with you of how this perceived failed first attempt at novel writing would turn into a thrilling five-episode supernatural serial with two additional seasons already in the storyboarding process (my version of outlining). Oh! There is so much to tell you still! So to continue your Behind The Scenes look at the evolution of Canton Ghost Town from novel to supernatural serial, check out Part 2 this coming Sunday 2/25/2024.

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collage of pictures of author Kat Satava including the title of her blog series My Hectic Author Life

Kat Satava is the author of My Hectic Author Life. In addition to the weekly blog, she is the epic fantasy author of The Witch War Series' debut novel, Nightmares & Stars. She is currently working on her first supernatural serial Canton Ghost Town: Season One - The Harvest. Kat is also the owner/operator of Maddening Moon Manuscripts, LLC providing quality services to readers and writers alike. To learn more about Kat, her books, and her business visit her website at, sign up for her newsletter, and check her out your favorite socials.

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