In an EMail I received the other day from a fellow named Paul, his last name will be withheld for his protection, he asked; "When is the last Spinward Fringe book coming out? Most series has a set number in them. How many did u plan for this?"
I understand your concern Paul. There are a few series out there that were never properly finished. The Wheel of Time comes to mind. I have a fantasy series that I've been meaning to finish myself, actually and I promise, I will. Especially since about one person a week buys one. At that rate I might have an angry mob by 2011. Fire bad!
All humor and obscure references to Young Frankenstein aside, there's something different about the Spinward Fringe series. Okay, there are several things that make it different from other series. Let me start at the beginning.
In early 2008 I finished the First Light Chronicles. It had a real ending because there was a specific plot cycle for the main character and the story was told in the first person. The plot outgrew the series and I wanted to take things in a new direction. I also wanted to write science fiction that read like a high budget television series, a bona fide space opera. I planned the Spinward Fringe series just like a television series is traditionally planned; to be open ended.
Spinward Fringe is an unlimited series in which I work to provide a soft ending in every second book so the series can satisfy readers who don't wish to read on while giving everyone else something to look forward to. I love the Spinward Fringe universe, it's very flexible and open. I also enjoy writing the characters immensely so I don't plan on stopping any time soon. So who decides when it all comes to an end? Well, considering the fact that I'm writing the Spinward Fringe series full time thanks to the support of a few hundred readers (about 350 people have purchased everything up to Triton at this point), it's really up to them.
I just released Spinward Fringe Frontline and sold about 100 copies in three weeks through Mobipocket.com. That in itself tells me that people are still interested. I'm also selling a few copies of the First Light Chronicles Omnibus per week and that tells me that people are spreading the word, more readers are coming aboard. As long as Omnibus is spreading I know Spinward Fringe's following is going to grow, making the future look a little better every time someone enjoys the experience of reading it. It's almost like selling DVD's of previous seasons. Whenever someone starts enjoying the story from the beginning it helps assure the future of the series.
Let's consider the worst case scenario. If the series died I'd have to focus my attention elsewhere. Would I keep revisiting the Fringe? Sure! but instead of 2-4 books a year I might only have time for 1 every 2 years. Eventually I might find new characters in a new universe to love and then you'd probably see a book every 5 years, if that.
Sorry Paul and everyone else who was looking for an final book and hard, conclusive ending. The readers have spoken and they don't want to see Spinward Fringe canceled any time soon.
I know I might lose readers over this, but what can I say? I'd rather tell the truth and say I hope it never ends.