They say all good things must come to an end. Nothing gold can last.
It's only been a few days since I wrapped up Winter Jacket: All In, and you guys, I miss them already.
I never intended to write a series. I wrote the original Winter Jacket hoping I'd written a compelling love story and dismantle a few student/teacher tropes along the way, but I never once anticipating what it might become. As a storyteller, it's a challenge to sustain a romance story and turn it into a series when there's no murders to solve, no evil wizards to vanquish. Winter Jacket has never tried to be what it's not--it's just a love story, but it's a love story I've had the pleasure of weaving over the past four years.
I'm really pleased with how Book 4 evolved and took shape. I was able to wrap up multiple loose ends and provide more than one happy ending for these characters without it feeling forced or contrite. I'm most proud of Elle. When I finished the original Winter Jacket, I remember saying to a friend--Nica Curt, with whom I co-authored Drained--that I knew people would fall in love with Hunter, but I thought Elle wasn't a very likable character. She was too flawed, too selfish. But over the course of this series my hope is that you've witnessed Elle's transformation and development. With Book 4 I took great pains to work towards the resolution of not just the story arc, but also Elle's major character flaws. She's become more selfless, more caring, and more attentive to sustaining the relationships that give meaning to our lives.
So is this really the end? I've always said that I didn't want to Jump the Shark with these characters and this storyline, so for now, this is the end. However, I'm open to the possibility of a spin-off based on other characters from this universe (Jessica Merlot?), or revisiting Elle and Hunter a few more years down the line. For now, I'm excited to split my time between finishing The Final Rose and my new stand-alone novel, Objective: Matrimony, which I'll be sharing more information about in the upcoming months.
It's hard to wrap my brain around now, but the original Winter Jacket was released in May 2013. It was my third full-length novel, but the first that used First Person P.O.V. Like the two books that had preceded it, I sold a few copies on Amazon each day, but nothing significant happened until the winter holiday. I remember being in northern Wisconsin visiting my partner's family when, inexplicably, Winter Jacket sold 100 copies in one day. I was stunned. Flabbergasted. Amazed. The novel shot up the sales ranks and held the Number 1 spot for Lesbian Fiction for a consecutive month. And from that moment on, I realized I could actually make a career doing the thing that gave me the greatest joy -- writing.
And I got to meet you. And you shared with me your brave stories of Coming Out, and looking for love, and finding hope nestled within the pages of my novels. Your love for Ellio and Hunter made all of this possible, friends. Thank you for letting Hunter and Elle become of part of your lives and for letting me in as well.
As always, I eagerly wait your feedback. I appreciate you all to the moon and back.