Dianne Salerni author Dianne Salerni author Dianne Salerni books Dianne Salerni blog Dianne Salerni Appearances Dianne Salerni contact Dianne Salerni teachers
Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Writing a Trilogy: Interview with Crystal Collier

Writing a Trilogy: Interview with Crystal Collier

Welcome Crystal Collier here today! She’s going to be talking about her new book, Timeless, and the adventure of writing a trilogy.

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

BUY: Amazon | B&N

Author Interview


1. Timeless is the final book in a trilogy. Did you have this book planned out when you began Alexia’s journey in Moonless – or did this story develop along the way?


My first draft of Moonless (in 2002) was a novella. A historical love story about a woman defying society and her father. It wasn’t until the next draft that it wrapped its fingers around one of my much older characters. That was the point at which I knew it was going to evolve, but I wrote a potential stand alone, just in case. So no, TIMELESS was not in the picture at first, but by the second draft, yes. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to it if I’d leaned toward the first draft and stuck with that sweet, but simple story. Part of me still loves it and wishes both could exist simultaneously.


2. What surprises did you encounter in the writing of Moonless? (Characters who didn’t behave as planned, twists you didn’t see coming, conflicts that ended differently than you expected, etc.)


When the love interest first took off his mask, so to speak, he wasn’t who I’d been expecting. I’d been writing two different people—a sweet, simple young man toward the beginning, and an older, kindly gentleman toward the end. Then he told me they were the same person and I’d been getting it wrong the whole time. (Picture my jaw hitting the floor.) Yeah, it was like that.


And Bellezza. I had no idea this girl was going to steal the show and drive the action. She was just an instigator of the initial conflict…until she appeared again. And again. And again. She may as well be Alexia’s dark shadow, her opposite, and a hint of the wicked potential that lies in each and every heart.


3. What advice would you give a writer starting a book with series potential that would make writing the subsequent books easier?


Create a story map. Use an excel spreadsheet or story program to build a spreadsheet of names, mannerisms & quirks, places, important objects, etc. You will thank yourself in later books. Also, write up a chapter by chapter outline with each book after you’ve completed them so you have a quick reference guide for future works.


Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)


16 Responses to Writing a Trilogy: Interview with Crystal Collier

  1. Tiana Smith says:

    I haven’t tried writing a series yet, though with many of my books I have thought about what they might entail.

  2. ChemistKen says:

    I suppose having your characters tell you where the story should go makes sense, but I’d prefer it if they just kept their thoughts to themselves and let me write in peace!

    • But then you miss out on half the FUN of writing. 😉

      There comes a point where you tell them “no” and “get back in line”, but I think it’s fun to give them the tether occasionally. My characters are very headstrong.

  3. Yes, because in later books you will forget what you wrote in the first one if you don’t keep track of those details!

  4. Great tip about the story map. When I was trying to write a series, I used index cards to write notes. I had lots of them.

  5. Anna says:

    Wonderful interview, ladies. Nice to learn a little more about you. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  6. Hilary says:

    Hi Chrystal and Dianne – what great advice … essential to have those aide memoires and other helpful documents to hand. I like the idea of the map too … cheers and good luck to you both – Hilary

  7. RO says:

    Something about the Knights Templar has always fascinated me, so seeing a story like this seems interesting. Enjoyed the interview! Hugs…

  8. Chuck Robertson says:

    The spreadsheet seems like a great idea. Even if your novel is a stand-alone one, I still think it’s a great idea to graph things out. I need to do more of that myself.