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My Hectic Author Life: From Novel to Serial, the Evolution of Canton Ghost Town Part 2




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. So if you haven't read Part 1, I encourage you to check it out before proceeding.


Alright the rest of you, let us continue your Behind The Scenes look at the evolution of Canton Ghost Town.





So when we left off, Canton, the vampire novel, was drying out like a methuselah in their coffin waiting for me to take it out of manuscript purgatory and do with it what I would. Three things would happen to breathe new life, and a new story, into Canton:


  1. I attended a Romance Writers of America Event in Scottsdale and sat in on a talk about writing serialized fiction given by Aeon Igni.

  2. I started reading The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer by Robert D. Keppel (Author), William J. Birnes (Author), and Ann Rule (Foreword).

  3. Kindle Vella was a new thing and I was hearing good things from my author friends.

You might be saying, but Kat, I thought you were a fantasy and supernatural writer. I am, but romance has a way of being part of most stories, so I pretty much attend everything on writing that I can regardless of genre themes.


My sister and I sat in on Igni's informative talk on writing episodic fiction. I was very interested in the distributing of a fictional piece on a scheduled basis for an audience. Similar to how the first Sherlock Holmes books were released, and how comic books are now, but digitally.


After the presentation, my incredibly insightful sister looked at me and like a mind reader said the words I was thinking, "I couldn't stop thinking about that vampire novel you were writing, Canton. This would be perfect for that."


That was the first twitch from the coma drawer of neglected and abandoned tails.

Years would go by. I started a whole new series and finally published my first novel. Then somewhere between finishing NAS and the global pandemic, I found myself wanting to start a blog. (I won’t sugarcoat it, at first it was because every indie author whom I followed said it was kind of an essential thing.) 


On this, I doubted them where I hadn’t before.


Mainly because with my already overflowing plate, I did not want to add another thing that needed my creative energy when I didn’t have it to give to my books.


But I knew it would help so I sucked it up. I looked at what others were blogging about and everyone recommended blogging about what I did as a writer. 


You know, like every other indie writer. To be honest, the mentors out there that I found were already doing it so awesome that I would rather recommend than re-invent. 


(If you are interested in who my mentors are, you can find them and so much more by subscribing to my monthly newsletter, joining my Facebook Fan Club - Kat’s Fans of the Maddening Moon or following me on Facebook/Tiktok/Pinterest/Instagram/X formerly Twitter.)



So I entertained a few different ideas: female tattoo artists, my reviews of books given like my high school book reports, interviews with my favorite characters from my favorite authors, top ten lists, etc. I still might do some down the line or work with one of Maddening Moon Manuscripts’ authors to help flesh out ideas for their author platforms, but none of them I saw as super relevant to me and the stories I wanted to tell.


But when I decided to write about my obsession with crime as a topic, some pretty strong knocking from the drawer of special forgotten things started.



I, like so many other women, am enthralled with all things crime. I watched 21 seasons of SVU. I have read all the major crime books (See My Bookshelf for all my faves). Don't get me started on my suggested watchlist both true crime and fictional thrillers. So of course the idea of blogging about all this random stuff I know seemed like a good idea, to stockpile inspiration for characters and storylines.


In preparation for my new true crime reflections, I read a ton.


Then I found a two-fer. The Riverman is a detailed account of the crimes and investigation of the Greenriver Killer AND the communications between Ted Bundy and the chief criminal investigator for Washington State Attorney General, Robert Keppel. CCI Keppel started his career working the "Ted Murders", so when Bundy reached out offering his insight into the Riverman it was seen as an opportunity to get inside Bundy's head and get closure for cases they knew he was responsible for. CCI Keppel's book is a masterclass on the evolution of criminal investigation in response to the increase in violent serial predators hunting victims during the late sixties, throughout the seventies, and into the eighties.


Now like I said I am a crime addict so we could talk about that forever, but that is for another blog piece. No, the reason, I am sharing all this with you now is because when reading the first chapter of The Riverman, the image of a very alive detective trying to pull his dead partner from a riverbed and her ghost yelling at him to stop before he pulled her...Well, I don't want to spoil it for you, but here is a tease of the first line...



Let's just say it played out like the opening of a show I would pay to watch the next episode of. I thought about my sleepy little town of Canton stuffed in the bottom drawer with 65,000 words that were just not able to stand alone as a novel. 


I remembered way back when to a romance writer conference and my sister’s comment… "that vampire novel, Canton…”


Suddenly I had this wild idea that the town of Canton could be my Gotham. You know, like how the stories of Batman and Teen Titans are different superhero storylines they are tied by the crossover of characters, but also by the city of Gotham.



The concept seemed to come alive. Like Frankenstein’s monster, it just needed a slightly maniacal creator and some new energy.


 First, I decided to pull the plug on the original vampire story being its OWN series, so that I could donate the organs to a more viable version. 


Then came changing the setting time from the early 2000s to the 1970s.


I picked 1977 as the perfect time for us to be introduced to the town of Canton, Arizona. By the late seventies, the nation had been rocked by violence such as the Manson Murders, the Jonestown mass cult suicide, the murders of Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz a.k.a. Son of Sam, and on and on. The villain of Canton Ghost Town Season One: The Harvest was the third character in the new cast that came to my mind stage. Then the floodgates opened.



By the end of the weekend, Canton's first season had a five-episode basic outline in my head and a reasonably full set of characters. I ran the concept passed some of my writer friends who loved the idea. Especially when I told them about all the little homages to the true crime cases I researched. And don’t think I forgot about my faves from the thriller and horror genres I have been an insatiable consumer of since I was in the fifth grade, let's just say The Dollhouse Murders and Nancy Drew were gateways to the harder stuff.










I was having one of these, "Hey, what do you think about this cool story idea?" conversations with a fellow author when she asked me about doing Canton through Vella. Vella had just made a splash as the next big thing to try and quench the constant demand for more stories more often from Amazon readers. After a bit of discussion about the idea. I decided to begin drafting as soon as Nightmares & Stars was released.


I sat down the following March and began drafting the first 5,000 word episode for Vella. I would quickly figure out that the word count restriction was way too restrictive for me. So I restructured and planned out a new publishing plan with Vella being replaced with Kindle Unlimited for the individual episodes that will be released bi-weekly. Once all five episodes have been out for two weeks, the full season will be released both paperback and hardback.


Plan in place. I pushed forward...

And today, March 8th, 2024,

the first episode of the newly envisioned Canton released.


 

Jo and Frank’s story had to be told before, Lily and Erik’s.

That’s right. Season Two - The Mitchem Legacy, is already in the works!







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