Despite my endless talent for missing deadlines, I wrapped up the final chapters of Beyond the Gates of Övrigmark and posted them to JukePop. It was with a mix of exhilaration and apprehension that I wrote the conclusion to the story. The last few chapters were amazingly fun to write, but I was also reticent to type 'The End.' I've been writing this story off and on for more than a few years now, and I've grown quite fond of the characters. Of course, if you read the ending, you'll notice that I left a rather large hint about the next book in the series. In fact, I actually told you the name of the next book in the series, and no, I'm not going to tell you the title here. You'll just have to pop over to JukePop and see for yourself.
Now that the first story is complete, I'll be going back and rereading it in its entirety to see where I can strengthen the work. The thing about writing serials is that you often start in one place with the mind of going in a certain direction, and then by some happy accident, you end up in another place altogether. I'm sure there are a few loose threads that I didn't completely tie up, and now that I've seen the characters through a range of mishaps and setbacks I've learned a lot about their actual character. In addition to that, I have some great ideas for the second story that I'd like to get down before I move onto my next project. Yes, I'll be saying a fond farewell to the wondrous land of Övrigmark for a time while I concentrate on the follow up to The Sixth Seal, but rest assured I'll come back to her in due time.
Övrigmark holds a special place in my heart. I first began writing it as a gift to my sister after the loss of our grandfather. And even though there is always a disclaimer at the beginning of fiction novels, many of the characters are based on actual people. Alexander was meant to be a reflection of a much younger me, and Hanna is, of course, my sister. Uncle Charles is none other than our grandfather Charles, and Princess Anna is based on our mother. I wrote the character of Isabella with our grandmother Ginny in mind, and Astrid, the wise and powerful unicorn, is an homage to my dear aunt Maggie, who left this world too soon. Unfortunately I'm such a dreadfully slow writer that I was never able to hand my sister a completed work in a timely fashion. The terrible grief of his passing has given way to melancholy and fond remembrances, but I'll always remember the story as an old friend who helped me get through the difficult times. Hopefully my intentions will bring a smile to her face when she reads the dedication I'll be adding to the final print version. Maybe I'll even finish it before Christmas, but you know me and deadlines.
I wanted to do something special to mark the completion of the serial version of the story, so I made a new cover that I think better captures the spirit of the story. I imagine the print version will look a bit different, but Astrid will still feature prominently on the cover. Anyway, here it is in all of its shiny glory. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, and if you haven't read the story because you were waiting for me to finish it, there's no time like the present to get started.