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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

BURN Blog Tour: Interview with author JM Hackman

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Welcome, JM Hackman to Caffeinated Fiction. We’re happy to have this chance to learn a few secrets about your upcoming release, BURN! Let’s jump right in!

Did you always plan for THE FIREBRAND CHRONICLES to be a trilogy?

When I wrote Spark, I had no idea how many books would be in the series. I actually also had no idea if anyone would be interested in a book involving a snarky ADHD main character with a mutant griffin sidekick, but that’s another story.

As the ideas began flowing, I began world building with a female character who looked a lot like Violet from The Incredibles. It was only after the first book was picked up by L2L2 Publishing that I started thinking ahead, dreaming and planning for the future. How many books did I want to write? Would it be about different characters or just one? What would the title be? (Just for the record, after I ditched the working title which was simply Brenna because that’s easier, it became The Sacred Veil, then The Firebrand. Thankfully, my editor is much better with title ideas than I am.)

As a fellow author, I totally understand just wanting to get your story down and not wanting to jump ahead with a full series. Now that you’ve got the series finished, is there room for a fourth book in Brenna’s journey?

I’d originally decided to go with four books—three books with a fourth to showcase the Epic Battle to End All Battles with the Evilest Villain to End All Evil Villains. And things went well until I started plotting the books.

Spark was published, I was struggling with Flare, and book three was skipping around in my gray matter and having tea with a few ideas. So I mapped out books three and four. Despite a massive cliffhanger ending, book three’s outline was pretty solid on paper. Book four looked like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 where the characters spend a lot of time talking and running around in the forest. After addressing the questions raised by the cliffhanger, I tried filling the outline with interesting (and unrelated) events and extra puzzles and scenes involving side characters. Weak and flimsy doesn’t begin to cover it.

What was I going to do? After much hand-wringing, I finally decided to try to blend books three and four into a cohesive plot. I ditched the side characters, the extra puzzles, and everything else that didn’t move the plot forward (which was most of book four), added only the important events from both books, and when I was finished, a tight, beautiful framework waited.

Trying to get the full story to be cohesive and focused can be one of the hardest things for authors. Were you disappointed that it didn’t turn out to be a four book series?

Book Four was dead. But I wasn’t really sad about it. I’d shared the story that needed to be told without all the extra fluff. And I was excited with the result.

Architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe was right when he said “Less is more.” It’s true of buildings and stories alike.

Less is more. That is so true! I think I might need to print that out and hang it above my writing desk. *wink*

Thank you so much for joining us and giving us a little insight into the inner workings of The Firebrand Chronicles!

Join the tour tomorrow and meet “Burn’s Cast of Characters and Creatures” with Jebraun Clifford!

Read on to learn more about Burn: The Firebrand Chronicles, Book Three!

Series mockup


Life: 1. Brenna James: 0. An AWOL talent, an enemy-occupied hometown, and a Life Shade boyfriend—Brenna James just wants something to go right. Although her family has been given sanctuary in Syeira, Brenna will never be safe as long as Rune is hunting down and killing Firebrands.

Can someone please wake her up already?

When a prophecy sends Brenna and Baldwin on a confusing quest, they aren’t sure where to begin. They must find the Caelestis Staff, a powerful object that both cuts and mends space itself. Rune wants it too, and he’ll use any lethal tactics necessary to obtain it.

Yeah, nightmare material right there.

A traveling oasis, plenty of man-eating mermaids, and one Skeleton King later, Brenna seriously doubts she has the edge she needs to confront Rune. When Brenna’s faced with the biggest test of her life, will she burn like the Firebrand she is? Or will she burn out?

Burn is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBook, Kobo, and any other online retailer, and Burn can be requested at any bookstore or library. Pre-order Burn here.

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