After writing “The Other Identity”, I really wanted to write something more with Kathryn Angel. I really missed writing that character and I wanted to do more with her. I had half an idea, which led me back to a subplot I want to put in the fourth Golden Hollow book.
Allow me to set the stage…The fourth Golden Hollow book deals with an alien invasion. Since this invasion deals more with an infectious spore that acclimates the native population, I knew I would need a research subplot. Needing to keep Kathryn involved in the series–she is the Golden Hollow after all–I thought I would let her be the researcher involved. Also, as part of her discovery, Kathryn would learn what the real aliens are (spores, not freaky monsters), just as she also learns how the reproduce. Because of this, a group of villains would draw Kathryn into a trap, trying to get access to her innate abilities.
The more I thought about this plot initially, the more I saw Kathryn would seem like some perfect figure. She needs some sort of external perspective, someone who can look at her and see a normal person, not a power source or a terrorist. What Kathryn needs in this story is a friend, someone she can rely on.
She also needs someone who looks like a friend, but is actually one of the villains. This person would appeal to Kathryn’s wilder side, something that doesn’t get expressed very often. This person would need to lure Kathryn into the clutches of the fully developed aliens, at least long enough to get some of her genetic material. At that point, Kathryn could get wise to her “friend’s” true intentions.
What makes all this work for me is another story idea I have. This other story is Nightender and deals with a young woman who does administrative work for a research firm and a spy attacking the firm’s interests. The main character of this story is Muse Kramer, a young woman who is bookish, quiet, but capable if she really wanted to be. When I thought of Muse, I knew she would be an interesting person to have interact with Kathryn.
That’s when the story started to grow with possibility. Instead of a simple subplot, I was thinking in terms of a complete plot thread. Not only would this part of the plot say what Kathryn is doing during this crisis, it would also explain more about what these aliens are. This plot thread would examine everything the world doesn’t see about a war between the the aliens and those from Earth. Aside from all that, it could flesh out the background of the setting, explaining more about PsiGrow (an important drug in the larger story) and the way it changes how Kathryn interacts with others who have powers.
Robert J. Sawyer has said that part of a novel can be excerpted in such a way where it can act as a short story. George RR Martin has taken chapters from A Game of Thrones and assembled them into an award-winning novella about Danerys Targaryen. So why can’t I take a plot thread from the fourth Golden Hollow book and make something that can stand alone?