This post is spoiler-free for Part One and future parts of The Wren Island Series.
One reason interactive serialized fiction is so fun is because readers influence every installment of the story. Readers have opportunities to do this in several ways. They might send me a quick note letting me know what they like and dislike so far. They might participate in a survey about a developing character. They might vote on an important detail. And, always, readers are right there with me in that special place where real life inspires fiction.
While reading Part One, watch for these places where real life inspired fiction.
Readers courageously move from beloved Reclamation Island to an island we’ve never been to before.
When we wrapped up Stories of Reclamation Island, my 2022 interactive serialized fiction experience, I asked readers to finish this sentence:
The one thing I want to bring with me from Reclamation Island to Wren Island is …
Readers agreed they wanted another memorable setting. To be surrounded by the ocean. With frequent references to delightful food. And lots of friendship. “Let’s keep the way everyone cares about everyone else,” one reader said.
One reader asked to bring along a character “who thinks deeply about art and struggles to feel worthwhile.” Another reader suggested we keep the occasional “odd” character and “see how people respond to them.”
Most resoundingly, though, readers wanted to keep the whales. One reader summed up the general sentiment this way: “The one thing I couldn’t bear to be without on Wren is the orcas.”
And speaking of orcas … One reader trusted it was okay to ask for anything. “Would it be possible to move the whale bell from Reclamation Island to Wren Island?”
Watch for how much of what we love about Reclamation Island turns up on Wren Island.
Memories of favorite aunts become the inspiration for characters on Wren Island.
What is something memorable about your favorite aunt? Did she do or say funny things? Did she have a quirk that amused or annoyed you? Did she keep a strange habit?
These are questions I asked readers once I realized Allison Theodore’s aunts were going to descend on Wren Island.
Readers shared heart-warming stories. Memories of women who had lived beautifully, thoughtfully, and creatively. Now these extraordinary women live on in our memories and in the characters on Wren Island.
Allison Theodore misses out on winning the lottery.
Ahead of the release of Part One, I was babbling to hubby about Allison Theodore buying a gorgeous property on Wren Island with lottery winnings. Next thing I knew, hubby was suggesting we buy a lottery ticket.
Now, let me be clear. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong, exactly, with playing the lottery. If buying a lottery ticket would float your boat, I hope the numbers work out very well for you. But I don’t want to be the one who encouraged you to buy a lottery ticket.
So Allison got her millions in a different way.
A real-life medical scare influences a doppelgänger on Wren.
My dog Rosie is the inspiration for the doggie named “Louise” on Wren Island. While I was writing Part One, Rosie received a devastating medical diagnosis. So I made a promise to readers that came straight out of one of those special moments when real life inspires fiction. While worrying about Rosie’s uncertain future, I promised readers that Louise would always be with us. Louise will live happily on Wren Island forever.
Readers determine pet names.
When one of Allison’s aunts brought a pair of Australian Zebra Finches with her to Wren Island, I invited readers to vote on names.
- Option 1: Carol and Mike (The Brady Bunch)
- Option 2: June and Ward (Leave it to Beaver)
- Option 3: Lois and Clark (Superman)
- Option 4: Kitty and Matt (Gunsmoke)
The majority vote determined the names of the birds.
An unexpected theme emerges.
Someone once wisely advised me to let the story write itself before I looked for the themes, or subtle messages, that were running through it. One theme turning up in Part One pleases me very much because it’s a perspective I want to develop in my own life.
Maybe you’d like to ponder this, too:
Sometimes we long to accomplish something wonderful. We long to make the world a better place. (A worthy pursuit!) But while we’re dreaming of having a big influence, we make a million little decisions. And just by being ourselves, just by trying to do what we believe is right every day, we’re affecting other people. We might not be changing the world, but we might be changing someone’s world.
You won’t find that message spelled out anywhere in The Wren Island Series. But it’s there. Between the lines.
Part One of The Wren Island Series was released on December 21, 2022. The next installment will be released on March 20, 2023.
Readers directly influence this story in real time. It’s easy and fun to catch up. It’s totally free, too! When you subscribe to receive my emails, you’ll receive a link to the parts that have already been released. Then, watch your inbox for behind-the-scenes updates and opportunities to influence what happens next!