With the launch of Afterlands: After the Return, it’s time to think about what’s next in the Afterlands lineup. A couple of things are underway: Book Three is drafted and going into revisions, Book Four is underway with about sixteen thousand words written, and a new Betweentimes story is fully drafted and scheduled to release October 13th.
Betweentimes stories have been somewhat experimental (and not all successes: “Feast & Famine” was originally supposed to be a picture book but I literally ran out of time with it). October’s story is titled “Crophaven”, which is the name of the secret house in which Nix’s children were hidden from the Continent throughout the war. The story is both longer than previous Betweentimes stories and, to my own disappointment honestly, darker as well.
If I had been more planful about the whole series from the start (which I thought I was!) I would have definitely handled this arc differently, but I hope you will stick with me because I really do promise that sunshine days are still to come. This Betweentimes story is also different as it is the only one I have planned for the Fall because I want to begin shifting my focus toward developing ideas for what’s to come once this first arc is concluded in Summer of 2023.
The other thing I want to, I guess, “officially” announce is that I will be publishing the four prequel Beforetimes stories as a book, maybe slightly revised, with a new cover and and new additional illustrations. I have received a number of questions about this and am happy to make these prequels available to purchase so that those of you who want a complete physical collection may have it. I am less decided about the Betweentimes stories as these need (in my opinion) much more work to be cohesive.
My publishing goal is to have Book Three available in the new year (first week of January), Book Four available the following July, and Beforetimes ready before Christmas of the same year. Because I am just starting to outline and develop ideas for what happens to Hyrhyn, Juba, Nix, and Laria beyond Book Four, this is as far as I can project for the future of the series for the time being.
Thank you for reading, for enjoying this world, for writing reviews, and giving me feedback at @NakedEchidna on the bird thing. The positive response has been such a joyful delight to me.
With 2021 behind us now, I can say it was a great year for Afterlands. The Beforetimes four-issue prequel stories ran from September-December, and culminated with the launch of Book One, Afterlands: After the Harrowing. While the publishing process could have gone a lot smoother, I’m grateful to everyone who read, enjoyed, and shared both the stories and the opening novella!
So what comes next?
Phase Two of Afterlands may be too ambitious for my own good, but I am currently planning and writing an interim set of stories called the Betweentimes. Like the Beforetimes, these stories will be made available for free on this website and will cover events that bridge the time between After the Harrowing and Book Two, tentatively titled After the Homecoming, which will launch first week of July.
While there isn’t a significant gap of time between the two books, there is plenty to be explored, particularly with regards to the progress of the four survivors and their tentative living arrangements at the Great House overlooking the bay and the town of Whiptail. For Hyrhyn, Laria, Juba, and Nix, there remains a great deal unresolved in their lives and they are only just beginning to realize it. Bad weather and surly neighbors threaten any hope of an easy existence, and a shipwreck brings an intriguing castaway into their midst.
Betweentimes stories may follow the format of the Beforetimes, though I am exploring the idea of including at least one “picture book” in addition to two (or possibly three) all-new stories.
Some questions that might be answered (or else teased a whole bunch more):
- Are Juba and Hyrhyn ever going to get around to consummating their union?
- Where exactly are Nix’s children and will he find them?
- What is Laria hiding in the Great House that she doesn’t want the others to see?
- Are we ever actually going to get to this alleged place called the Afterlands?
- Who is Moth and how certain are we that he might be the key to everything?