Notes on Chronology in the Will Castleton Paranormal Detective Series

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

underwater scene with bubbles and sunraysby David Bain

You may freely copy and repost or reprint this article as long as all links, the above byline, this note, and all following text remains unchanged.

My series character Will Castleton happened accidentally. I didn’t start out planning him to be a series character at all. Then I had editors asking for a vampire story, a ghost hunter story, etc., and I just sort of plopped Will into each piece instead of inventing a new character. He’s the same guy in these stories, just at different points in his life. By the time I realized I had to get serious about Will, the chronology was all over the place – and that’s the current state of things. I hope to fix this over the next several years, and most readers are sticking with me despite the jumps in time. (And I herewith thank them graciously for this!)

Still, I feel a few things need to be explained. First off, here, presented chronologically, are the different periods of Will’s life I’ve written about so far (or am writing about in a uncompleted work in progress), and the short stories or NOVEL titles that go with that period.

1. Rookie U.S. Marshal (DEATH SIGHT)

2. Green River County Sheriff’s Deputy (PURGATORY BLUES, HOMEWARD DEVILS (flashback scenes))

3. Reinstated U.S. Marshal (Phoenix Blood, Island Ghosts, MENGER, RUNNING)

4. Bodyguard for hire (RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, Unnamed Vance Lee Gentry/Will Castleton story, Unnamed Rafe Johnson/Will Castleton story)

5. Paranormal investigator (The Bridge, Samantha, HOMEWARD DEVILS, CHOOSE, Nighteyes, THE HOUSE IN CYRUS HOLLER)

A couple additional notes: A few reviewers and commentators have noticed that while Will’s girlfriend is named Candice in his “origin” novel DEATH SIGHT, his girlfriend is named Samantha in three of THE CASTLETON FILES – which, in fact, features a story (at least partially) named after her.

Just to clarify – I didn’t screw anything up here. Candice and Samantha are not the same person. A few readers have also commented that they like Samantha just a little bit more than Candice. Well, that’s good, actually, because that’s the way I planned it. 😉

Sometimes we have to go through a lot of relationships before we find the love of our life – and even then it’s not always easy. I wanted Will’s larger story arc to reflect that.FILES PLAY

As I noted above, the Will Castleton series sort of snuck up on me. I wrote “Island Ghosts” out of the blue one afternoon because I wanted to write an action story set in a version of a place where I’d vacationed. (While it’s a Florida key in the story, I actually based it on Dauphin Island, Alabama.) I thought the story was a one-off. I never intended to write about Will again. But then various editors wanted this or that sort of story so I wrote to order, stirring Will into the mix because, well, he was there, ready to go. I was in way too deep before I realized I was fascinated by the guy and would be with him for the duration, obligated to fill in the holes in his story arc.

So THE CASTLETON FILES represent a wide swath in Will’s life, several long years, taking him from single young U.S. Marshal to more seasoned and romantically involved private investigator.

Possible Return to Angel Hill 3For better or worse, this writing-out-of-order trend will probably continue for a little bit, too. Two writers working together write faster than one, and it’s looking like the next Will Castleton novel to be released will be RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, wherein C. Dennis Moore and I combine our various series characters and settings, taking Will from the realm of my Green River crime and horror to Dennis’ diabolical city of Angel Hill.

Sometime early next year we should see PURGATORY BLUES, which is the direct follow-up to DEATH SIGHT. As far as Will’s relationship status in PURGATORY goes, I’ll only comment that both Candice and Samantha make at least an GRB betterappearance. Uh-uh. Nope! Not saying anything more than that! Can’t make me! Lalalalalala! <fingers in my ears> I can’t hear you!

While each Will Castleton story is designed to stand on its own, I plan to eventually have a larger, relatively seamless over-arcing storyline. However, I like the idea of being able to write about Will at any stage of his life, and I’ll reserve the right to jump between, as long as it doesn’t mess with the over-arcing story.

I love the action, romance and suspense in Will’s stories, and I love the thrill and challenge of filling in the blanks in his larger narrative. So far readers have been quite supportive of Will’s time-jumps, and I appreciate everyone bearing with me! I’m in for a long journey – thanks for joining me on this exciting ride!

  1. Alan Shearer says:

    It’s sort of making some sense now. Actually, that’s kind of scary in and of itself?

  2. […] Will Castleton: Notes on Chronology, Candice vs. Samantha, etc. […]

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