I have three ideas, and I’d like your thoughts about which story I should pursue.
As followers of WWK know, I am a pantser, so when I start a novel, I know the inciting incident, but don’t really know where the story will take me. That said here are the three concepts:
Seamus McCree #7: It’s the “G” title in the series, and I already know what the title would be. (I’m not telling because my newsletter readers get that kind of news first!) Seamus’s granddaughter, Megan, is spending much of the summer at Seamus’s camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. When he picks Megan up after a playdate in town, she wants to hire her grandfather to find out what happened to one of her playmates who has gone missing. Seamus eventually accepts Megan’s employ and discovers a child in desperate need, an underground economy he knew nothing about, and forces that will stop at nothing to protect their enterprise.
While the Seamus McCree novels have received very favorable reviews (the series averages 4.32 on Goodreads and 4.67 on Amazon), it isn’t exactly a best-seller.
Alternative two is to start a new series, and my idea is a spinoff from the Seamus McCree novels. Those who read Cabin Fever (Seamus McCree #3) met Niki (single name, spelled with a single ‘k’). [Spoiler alert] She’s an undercover FBI agent who would rather get the job done then kiss ass and play politics. Her background is murky, so what would happen if I gave her a billionaire father who believes his kids should make their own way in life. He’s in the middle of fending off a takeover of his business and is kidnapped.
Naturally, the FBI refuses to let her get involved because she’s family, and she goes rogue. She brings in Seamus McCree to help understand the financial aspects of the takeover when it turns out her father has given her power of attorney. Seamus is a minor character, though, since this would be the kickoff of a new thriller series staring Niki. The series titles would be something like Niki Goes (fill in the blank) – for example Niki Goes Rogue or maybe Niki’s (fill in the blank) – for example, Niki’s Billionaire Father.
The third alternative kicking around in my head is to switch from modern day suspense/thriller to a dystopian YA trilogy. I’ve been playing with this idea for some time. I know something about the world: The US has split into East and West with flyover country acting as a buffer. Split into enterprise zones, the middle of the continent supplies food and raw materials to the East and West. Interpretation of the US constitution has morphed so that only corporations have voting rights. The heroine will come from what used to be Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
My problem with not working on this earlier continues to be that I try to be a plotter and scope out the trilogy before making any further false starts. (Several years ago, I wrote 30,000 words. It wasn’t working, and I stopped.) I am a committed pantser and will need to write the stories to learn what they are. One big difference in this case is I do know how the world changes by the end of book three, so I would be writing with that ending in mind. (Of course, by the time I am done, it might change!)
 Seamus McCree #7 featuring granddaughter Megan and set in the U.P.
 Niki #1, a domestic thriller dealing with family, corporate power, and a take-no-prisoners heroine.
 Dystopian YA trilogy featuring a young woman in a world where the US has broken in two countries and corporations rule.
James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree mystery series. Empty Promises, the fifth novel in the series—this one set in the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—is now available. You can and find more information about Jim and his books at .