I don’t know if you’re familiar with the show, but let me tell you a little bit about Veronica Mars.
The show—featuring a high school detective with sass and grit—was surprisingly adult, and surprisingly fun. Somehow it balanced real drama with sharp wit and banter reminiscent of a 1940s noir. Both Mary and I loved it, and we were sad to see it go after its third season.
This year, Veronica Mars was revived. The 2013 Kickstarter that financed the movie paid off handsomely—the movie was released widely and renewed interest in the show. An official novel was released that picks up the story after the movie, and the second official novel comes out in January.
While it may never have been a blockbuster success, you know that a franchise that can create three seasons of TV, a movie, and a book series has something going for it.
Which is where I come in.
Earlier this year, Amazon launched a fascinating program called Kindle Worlds. Kindle Worlds essentially creates a place for “authorized” fan fiction. The idea is that writers who want to write in the world of the book can do so. Not just on Internet chat boards, either, but writers can publish and sell their writing on Kindle. The revenue is split three ways, between myself, between Amazon, and between the original creator of the world. It’s a really innovative way to handle it!
When the program was launched, one of the worlds available was Veronica Mars. I sketched out an idea for a Veronica Mars novella—basically, something the length of an episode, but on paper. I was so excited, I even had the cover created, even though I hadn’t yet written a word!
But things were busy. I was working on two other writing projects. We welcomed a son a month later. And I never got to it.
But for some reason, Thanksgiving morning came and I awoke with a strong urge to start the story and see how it went. I had sketched the mystery out well enough that it actually went incredibly fast. I pushed myself, writing before kids got up and after kids went to bed. But I finished the novella Sunday night—just four days later.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever written something that fast before. (I realize now that I’m not sure I would have written it, if I didn’t already have a cover ready to go.)
Writing for someone else’s characters and settings was unique. After working so hard to create a fully realized world in The Lead Cloak, it was a thrill to write in a world that I knew so well. That also helped it go fast.
The book was certainly informed by all the chess I’ve been playing this year (you can see the chess piece on the cover) though it is hardly a chess novel. In fact, it’s a weird mix of chess, industrial espionage, high school rivalries, and even a little basketball.
All the old characters are there from the first season. Wallace, Mac, Weevil, Logan, Duncan, Keith Mars, and—of course—Veronica.
If you aren’t familiar with Veronica Mars, should you read it?
I think the mystery is engaging, whether you know the characters or not. But the novella doesn’t dive into the backstory of Veronica or the other characters, either, so there may be some asides that confuse you. I think it’s a blast! But I recognize I may be biased.
What does this mean for Book II of The Lattice Trilogy or another Beautyman mystery?
Well, considering it took only four days to write, I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose much ground. I’m 200 pages into The Iron Harvest and I’m really enjoying where it’s going. Beautyman, unfortunately, will have to wait until that trilogy is over. But I’m working hard to make that happen!
In the meantime, I hope you give this mystery a shot. It’s definitely different from anything I’ve written so far.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,