When the last book in a series releases, it's a bittersweet time for both the author and the readers. Neither wants to truly let their favorite characters go, but it's also an exciting time because the author is most likely preparing their next project, giving readers plenty to look forward to. Today, to celebrate the release of Strange and Ever After, the last in her Something Strange and Deadly trilogy, Susan Dennard shares her thoughts on the series and gives readers a glimpse of what's coming next.
Strange and Ever After — there couldn’t be a more appropriate title for the finale of this series. Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters have been through so much, but in the end, they’ve stayed true to who they are.
Or who they’ve become in Eleanor’s case.
And wow, did Eleanor Fitt grow. From a teenage girl who wanted nothing more than her mother’s, her brother’s and her society’s approval, she became a woman who makes her own choices — good or ill — and faces the consequences unflinching and unafraid.
As Daniel Sheridan would say: Eleanor became an empress.
I like to think that I became an empress too. That just as Eleanor was irrevocably changed by the darkness she faced, I was irrevocably changed by Eleanor. It’s only natural, I suppose, that after feeling every hurt and triumph alongside my heroine, I would grow too.
From her I learned that bravery doesn’t mean you’re fearless. I learned that loyalty doesn’t mean you must fight. And I learned that the choice is always, always mine.
So forever after, Eleanor Fitt (and I) will be delightfully strange and delightfully separate from a world that tries to bend us to its ideals — and that’s exactly how she (and I) want it to be.
Miss Fitt, misfit, forever.
Now Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters will head off to face new horizons at the Sheridan Institute — a school of their own creation that teaches impoverished children the ways of necromancy, voodoo, self-defense and engineering. Maybe one day I’ll write those tales too — because, of course, the stories don’t end on the last page. If anything, the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy is just the beginning for Eleanor and the gang.
But I have other stories to tell for now — strange stories, dark stories, lovely stories — and other characters to grow with and learn from. In fact, I’ve stepped away from historical and steampunk in my forthcoming Truthwitch (Tor, 2015) to explore high fantasy, sprawling magic and epic friendships. One thing I didn’t have the space to do in the Something Strange & Deadly trilogy was delve into Eleanor’s friendship with Jie Chen, so in Truthwitch, I wanted to make sure the friendships were the focal point. Don’t worry, though — there are still plenty of my signature, steamy kiss scenes ahead. In fact, Truthwitch has given me a chance to write male points-of-view, and there is nothing more fun than writing sexy times through a man’s lens!
So just as Eleanor Fitt is onto new, greener pastures, I too am off to explore different worlds and different characters. When one journey ends, then a new one begins.
- Susan Dennard
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