Thinking back on starting to write the Enchanted, Inc. series, I’ve been remembering some of the initial ideas that didn’t quite work out. A book that exists in your head as mostly an idea is very different than the book once it’s written, and this one spent more than a year in my head before I even started trying to mold it into an actual book with any kind of story to it.
To start with, I initially thought the company the heroine would end up working at would be the kind of business that had been in lower Manhattan for a very long time, with the city growing up around it. I even read a whole book about the House of Morgan, because I thought that fit. Once I started thinking more about what the story would be, I realized I couldn’t make a financial company magical. I ended up going with the software industry as a model, even though it was relatively new, because it fit the idea of spells as software, and because I’d done PR for technology firms, I had more of a grasp on that. It was a lot more fun to make fun of.
There was originally going to be a lot more bad boss stuff. When I was first discussing the idea with that editor, my pitch was “Bridget Jones meets Harry Potter when she goes to work with Dilbert.” I read books about women dealing with sexual harassment in the financial industry. Most of that went by the wayside. I still had the bad bosses, but they were just jerks, and the coworkers weren’t that bad.
Before I figured out who all the characters would be, I had this idea that there would be a number of potential “Mr. Right” guys the heroine ran into, and it would take a few books before one became the front runner. I imagined “shipper wars” going on among fans, with each guy having a faction cheering for him. But once I started developing the cast of characters and came up with Owen, that idea went out the window. I couldn’t imagine anyone else winning.
I do sometimes think I got them together a little too soon, but the initial contract was only for two books, and I wrote and turned in the second book before the first book was published, so I had no idea if there would be more books, and I felt it was important to give it some kind of closure. Then I got the contract for two more books, and I did the temporary breakup at the end of book 3 to allow a little bit of a reset to slow things down a bit and let them have at least a little conflict.
I had a lot more whimsical magical stuff in the first book because I was trying to make everything magical, but a lot of that didn’t carry through later because I realized I didn’t need it.
I knew Owen’s background from about midway through the writing of the first book and always planned to reveal it in book 5. That’s part of why I was so upset when they decided to end the series at book 4. Fortunately, the Japanese publisher wanted more, so I kept writing and was eventually able to publish it. I thought I was done with the series then, but the Japanese publisher asked for more books, so I came up with the idea for book 6. After that, I figured I ought to at least get them to a wedding. That’s why I think this really is the end. I went beyond what I planned and got them to the ending I’d hoped for. I’m not married and don’t have children, so I have to admit that I don’t have a lot of interest in writing the next phase of their lives, but you never know what might strike me.
Sometimes I wonder if I could go back to the very first seeds of that initial idea and come up with something entirely different. It might be fun to play with that concept.