As I stated in an earlier blog post, if all of my books are to be viewed as characters within an OVERALL story, it is very important to at least try to examine even the ones you don’t instantly feel like reading. For readers this must feel like a lot of extra work. But to return to the metaphor of LOTR, this was a long franchise of very, very long movies. HOURS. And HOURS. And along the way there are loads of characters (and battles!) that any one person would much rather skip. It takes a lot of dedication to watch the whole thing through even once.
But if you just skipped to a few scenes with Aragorn, mostly in ROTK, without ever learning much about the world, you honestly don’t have him in context as a character. You could come to a lot of conclusions about him that are invalid, drawn from the little you’ve seen. That’s fun to do and it feels much more natural since you’re interested in him. It’s also fine to do that once you do know the whole story. Doing it from the first is not a good idea because you can misunderstand everything.
This skimming approach has permeated my readers from the first. It now makes sense, in the light of viewing my books as characters they feel drawn to or not, in a very instinctive way. But it created a lot of poor communication that I didn’t even understand until I put all the books side by side. People just took a book—such as Alyce or Bellevere House or Facets of Fantasy (or just one story in Facets)—and decided it was representative of me. They could form an opinion very quickly and keep that opinion. That book didn’t “represent” me at all, any more than LOTR is exclusively about Galadriel. If you watch her scenes, you know what LOTR is about period. You don’t even have to pretend to watch the rest. This is not true.
And there will be more updates.
I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.