With the release of The Assault: Cycle Two of the Harbingers Series (Bethany House), veteran Christian authors Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky team up for the second in their series of connected supernatural novellas. As darkness threatens, four gifted people will give the world its best–and maybe only–chance to survive. In this Q&A, Bill Myers explains the origins of the series, how these four authors got together, and how they coordinate their separate stories for the larger whole.
Can you explain the concept of the Harbingers series?
MYERS: I originally came up with the idea: What if several authors wrote a series of linked novellas that would read like episodes of a TV series? From there, we decided to give each author a unique character. Each novella is from the first-person POV of one of the Harbinger team members as they stumble into supernatural adventures and investigations.
What gave you the idea for short reads?
MYERS: Because of their busy schedules, my friends who love to read were either giving up reading novels or buying ones they seldom completed. And I was no different. I have so many books lying around that I want to read but just can’t find the time. The perfect solution seemed to be 70–80-page novellas that can be read in one or two settings before bed, on the plane, or while waiting for the kids to finish soccer practice. The trick was to still keep the depth of characters and the driving plot and twists. It’s a little tougher at the writer’s end, weeding out unnecessary words and rabbit trails, but that’s why it was important to bring a team willing to work hard on connecting the novels. And I have to tell you, these guys delivered the goods and then some!
How did you choose the writers for this project?
MYERS: I wanted experienced novelists who thought outside of the box. Frank and I have been friends long before either of us were authors. We have similar backgrounds and our writing often touches on related subjects. Angie and I have actually written other projects together. She’s great, and I knew she would be the Wendy to keep us “Lost Boys” in order. Alton and I have taught at conferences together. Besides being a consummate pro, I knew he loved speculative fiction so this was right up his alley.
How do you make sure the stories do not conflict with each other?
MYERS: We meet by Skype at the beginning of every cycle (four novellas per cycle) to lay out where we’re going. I always had in the back of my mind where we would end up, but didn’t necessarily tell the rest of the team so we would take our time and come up with even more original ideas before getting there.