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This time around, letting go isn’t easy.

Today I’m sitting on my patio with the final draft of a project titled NANTUCKET RAMPAGE, Terror On The Island Ferry, which I am sending out for editing. I’ve been working with these characters for months, so it’s a bittersweet moment. I’m always happy to finish a novel, but this is a one-off story and I don’t see any way to use these people who I have come to love in another book:

Dana McSorley is a high-spirited sailor with a red pony tail and a tragic past, who carries a razor-sharp sheath knife in the small of her back.

Ship’s cook Justin Boudreaux serves gumbo straight out of the French Quarter in his galley while playing cards and hustling pennies from the crew.

Chief Engineer Bo Diddley Jacobs is a thoughtful and hard working old man who defends his engine room from the terrorists like a young lion.

Maritime cadet Todd Bell is a teenager with a passion for ships and the sea struggling to fit in with the older crew.

Katarina Dalca is the Romanian beauty who puts her life on the line to speak for the passengers who have become hostages to a white nationalist cult.

Before this project I was mostly writing books in a series, and the beauty of that is that the core characters are yours to keep. You know them like old friends; their traits, habits, and speech patterns are totally predictable and when you confront them with a new situation (another plot) they write their own stories. The next volume in the series will always give them another chance at shame or redemption, and love or loss, which makes the writing fun.

Not so for this project. Once the book is published the characters are no longer mine. I don’t want to let them go, but they are done with me because they only work together, as the offbeat crew of the ferry NIGHTHAWK. And some of them have to die.