I get asked about the timeline of my novels in The Lighthouse series. Because the three major novels total nearly 500,000 words, I think folks believe the stories must span decades, at the least. And they do – sort of.
I never set out to write “a series.” So, the entire timeline thing hadn’t been planned. But as book #2 and book #3 came along I had to make sure the stories fit together, mainly because the main characters were the same. Books one and two take place in what I consider modern day time. Book three (and the upcoming book four) take place in the not-too-distant future.
Book #1, The Hidden Saboteur, covers 12 months, roughly, of time in the life of the protagonist, Clay Austin. All except the last chapter spans 2017-2018. The last chapter takes place ten years later, but the actual year isn’t important to the story. I did, however, have to use the period as a benchmark for the novels that follow.
Book #2, The Chase, begins in 2019, but then steps back 25 years to follow, Sheryl, the main character’s childhood and early adulthood. The Chase ends in 2019, with Sheryl being 34 years old. The actual years aren’t important in this novel either, except that they tie the story into book one correctly.
Book #3 in the series, The Snare, begins in June 2038. The future date was necessary because the protagonist is the Charley, the son of Clay and Sheryl, and it opens with him preparing for his high school graduation. The book ends in September of 2039.
Book #4, The Road to Nineveh (coming soon), opens in June of 2040 and ends a year or two later. I’m still writing the final chapters so the end date is, let’s say, fluid at the moment.
The entire series spans a period from 2017 to 2040, but the exact years are not important.
There is a real sense of the passage of time in all of my books. The reader will hear the clock ticking, the pages of the calendar turning. This adds to the suspense and, I believe, grounds the stories in reality.