Going In a Different Direction


This post is by Joe Stephens






As many of you know, I just published my fourth book. It’s entitled Dawn of Grace and it’s the fourth in a series called The Shalan Adventures. All of the books I’ve published have been in this series. And even the one novella that I’ve written was a prequel to these books. Other than a few short stories, Harry and Dee Shalan and their family and friends are the only characters I’ve written. They are completely real to me. And I’m happy to say that I have some fans who feel the same way. I haven’t sold tons of books, but the people who’ve read them seem quite taken by them, and by Harry and Dee specifically.

Person, Girl, Young, Woman, Suitcase, Waiting, LeavingThe reason I bring that up is that, after four books and about five years, I’ve decided to, at least temporarily, go in a different direction. My next novel will not involve Harry and Dee. It won’t be detective fiction at all. It will be much more serious than the light stuff I’ve written so far. It’s about a young woman coping with the tragic death of her mother who suddenly encounters a man who claims to be the father she’s never met. It’s going to be bigger and broader than anything I’ve ever taken on. It will cover the main character’s life from age five until adulthood. I think it has the potential to be something important. The premise is a strong one. The only thing standing between me and having a truly good book is me. And that’s the problem.

I’m scared to death. Leaving Harry and Dee (not forever–I will write more books about them) feels like leaving home. We all go through that when we leave the safety of the nest. the questions abound. Will I be able to make it on my own? What if I’m going in the wrong direction? What if people hate me? What if I’m just not ready? Will I ever beMural, Girl, Balloon, Child, Heart, Graffiti, Innocent ready?

Scared or not, I’m moving on. I’ve already started the first draft and it’s going well. I’m
not putting it on a timetable. I’m just going to write it as fast as I can write it. And in the meantime, I’m still promoting Dawn of Grace and squirreling away ideas for future Shalan Adventures, including a spin-off series for their daughter Jenn.

Writers, have you encountered this? How did it go? If you’re not a writer, what has been your experience of going in a different direction in your life? Maybe it’s a new job or a new relationship or walking away from an old one. Whatever it is, I’d love it if you’d share.

sunrise cover option 7Joe’s newest book, Dawn of Grace, just debuted on June 9. It’s available on Amazon.




ITS Cover ArtCheck out his third book, In The Shadow on Amazon

kindle cover

Take a look at his debut book, Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at his second book, Kisses and Lies onAmazon



24 thoughts on “Going In a Different Direction

  1. Sounds exciting. And you’re already working on it, so you’re in the game. I changed genre too when I left fantasy after the trilogy and decided to write the Civil War romance novel. So far it’s going good. It’s written and being critiqued and edited as the chapters are looked at.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joe- It’s a huge step to take and I say that as someone who writes in different genres. You might think that you’ll hanker a little to write about your Shalan characters but you might find you’re so taken up with your new characters that you’ll suddenly realise you’ve not thought of them for quite a while.Good luck It sounds like a good story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe,

    I’ll be honest with you, I’ve had about four different careers and haven’t regretted any of them. If I’m being called to go in a different direction, I usually do much better if I heed the signs and not fight it.

    The same has held true with the writing. I write the haiku, and both western historical and medieval romance. I also write non-fiction. What most don’t know, I’ve also scored a childrens play, worked as a professional singer and pianist, and directed a film. Did I make a big spash in any of them, who knows, but my heart is happy. Follow your heart, if it makes you happy, then it probably is the way to go. (And I believe it is. Best to you, it is a story that is wanting to be told.) Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I knew when I couldn’t quit thinking about the plot of this new book that it was the thing to do. I was trying to score essays at the time and it was a real struggle to keep my mind on the work. That tells me it’s the thing to do.


  4. Good luck with the change, Joe. I think it’s good to dig deep and try something different. Granted it’s easier said than done. In the end it’ll be worth whether you publish the project or not, because you did it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how I feel about it. I don’t make tons of money as a writer at the moment anyway, so even if this one doesn’t sell at all, I believe I’ll be glad I wrote it. Thank you.


  5. I think it’s fantastic you’re following your heart and your gut. It sounds like an intriguing story. I write crime fiction but tried branching out by writing a middle grade mystery which eventually transformed into a children’s chapter book. I never would have guessed i’d have a children’s book out (hopefully later this year). Just keep at it and write what’s speaking to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good luck with your new venture. I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun with it. I enjoy switching things around. I do two different series. One is traditional romantic suspense set on a WY dude ranch. The other is also RS but with psychic and healing themes. Not as different as your switch, but different enough. Keep things interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is quite exciting to be doing something different. I love Harry and Dee, but I think I’ll enjoy them even more when I go back to them after having written something else altogether.


  7. Good for you, Joe! I think it’s fine to step out of the box and move in a different direction. Although I haven’t yet done it completely, I have made a few steps that way, and I do hope to finish my “out of my comfort zone” book this year. I think it’s fun to go in a different direction, although, as you said, scary, too; Good luck and keep us posted!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like going a different direcdtion and have done that several times in my nursing career, and have written two published short stories that were totally different–one an inspirational historical romance and one a murder mystery involving little girls. My friends were open-mouthed when they read the latter…. So while I hope to shake off the fear of sending out my novel I would like to write very different genre’s in the future, but guess I’ll have to use a pen name. Having been a psych nurse, I feel I know a bit about the twisted psych, but also being a romantic, I love writing romance. Good for you and bet you’ll have fun on this venture.


  9. I have always changed direction pretty easily. My writing shows that. I still think a lot about my first characters. I loved them all. You got sound advice from the other WW&Ws I know you’ll do well. Cher’ley


  10. Change can be a good thing, embrace it. I’ve made many changes in my life. I got a divorce and remarried several years later. I moved from New Jersey to West Virginia. I closed my ceramic shop and seriously attacked a career in wildlife photography, with just a part time job. Yes I am glad I made all those changes and I look forward to making a few more.


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