by Annabeth Albert, author of Rough Terrain
I’m so delighted to be here on the Carina blog today celebrating the release of Rough Terrain! This is the seventh and final (at least for now!) book in the Out of Uniform series, and this marks my eleventh Carina Press title. I know that we have a lot of aspiring Carina Press authors following the blog, and I wanted to specifically offer you some words of encouragement today as well as offer readers a behind-the-scenes look at the road to bringing out a long series like this.
Once upon time, Carina Press was a bucket list goal for me. So many of my favorite authors had published with Carina, and as a reader, I was a huge fan of the quality and uniqueness of the books I purchased. I didn’t sell my first book there or even my seventh (most of those books live under my bed, never to see the light of day!) But when I got the call about Status Update and the rest of the #gaymers series being accepted, I was over the moon.
Fast forward through a lot of hard work in edits and drafting, and I was writing book three in the series, Connection Error. And I realized as I wrote it that I really wanted to do a spin-off romance for two of the characters. This was the final contracted book, and I was full of anxiety. I’d wanted to do a military series for a very long time, but I was nervous as to whether I could pull it off. And I desperately wanted that second contract with Carina. But would they go for it?
I wrote my series proposal, detailed synopsis and partial for book one of Out of Uniform (see? You never truly lose the submission process even after publication!), and I waited. Those nerves of being out on submission? Trust me when I tell you they only intensify over time. Then the message came that Carina wanted the proposed three-book series! Awesome! They had some feedback for me that helped evolve both the series and book one, Off Base. The editorial feedback process was really crucial as the series continued, and I value my editor and team so much.
As I wrote book two, At Attention, I realized that I really wanted to write a book for a secondary character there—the brother of one of the heroes. So I readied a proposal for book four. But as I wrote books three and four, I realized that the series simply didn’t feel done to me. I had a lot of reader requests for more books and more stories for beloved secondary characters. Thus, I did a proposal for books five through seven. And still I was nervous!
The proposal was accepted, and I was elated. I hadn’t really set out to write a seven-book series, but it simply felt like what this universe needed. Writing each book in the series and working with my Carina Press team was a joy, and I loved watching the series evolve over time. As I wrote book seven, the series felt more complete to me—no secondary characters were demanding books, no plot threads remained and all the previous couples were living HEA.
Thus, I did one of my favorite activities and browsed the manuscript wish list for the Carina editors, especially mine. A plot bunny grabbed hold of me, and before I knew it, I’d written a proposal, synopsis and partial for a new series. Frozen Hearts begins in April, and I really hope you come along with us for the next journey! Will it too be a long series? Only time will tell!
In closing, if you’re currently on submission or aspiring, don’t give up! And if you have a series in the works, stay true to it! Listen to those secondary characters, and don’t give up hope of extending the series! The nerves of being on submission never completely go away, but the elation of the message that an idea has the green light also only gets more intense. It’s all worth it in the end!