Will there be a third Doppelganger book?

Being asked this is flattering; I’m delighted to know readers have enjoyed these books enough that they want more. The answer to it, though, is complicated (and spoilery) enough that it deserves its own page.

The short answer is “no,” but I’d like to explain why.

Warrior and Witch are the story of a particular conflict: the deaths of the doppelgangers, the change in that tradition, and the resistance of a group of witches to that change. That conflict is the engine that makes the story go, and Witch resolves it. While it won’t be smooth sailing for Mirei and Co. from there on out, their reforms don’t face any antagonists of equal stature; what remains is the ordinary, day-to-day wrangling, the little bumps and complications that tangle up any attempt at comprehensive reform.

Many readers have (quite rightly) said that this comprehensive reform means there’s a lot of loose threads dangling at the end of Witch: the rest of the current generation of doppelgangers, the Cousins and their children, Mirei and Eclipse. (Though apparently you guys see that last one as more dangly than I do; from my perspective, they’ve started a relationship, and will presumably be happy in it.) Loose threads, however, do not a novel make; it needs a conflict, an engine, or you’ll find yourself reading four hundred pages of aimless rambling. And the last thing I want to do is crank out a substandard book just for the sake of making this a trilogy.

I have considered the possibility of a sequel, but it would need a new conflict, one as interesting and complex as the first one was. So far, nothing has measured up. (Which is not — sorry — an invitation for you to e-mail me possibilities; I don’t mysticize creativity, but an idea has to come out of my own subconscious, or I’m unlikely to be excited enough about it to spend a year of my life on the project.) If, however, one day I get mugged by a concept that really does fire my imagination, then I will be more than happy to return to this world.

What does that mean for you guys? I know it’s disappointing to hear there won’t be any more, but I hope this explanation helps you understand why, from a writerly perspective, it wouldn’t be a good idea. But I may play around with the world in other ways, by which I mean short fiction, a la Dancing the Warrior. Also — if you want to know the one dangling thread that won’t leave me alone — I may someday figure out how to tell a story about Indera, and what she does with herself after Sharyo’s gone.

I can’t promise any of that will happen; it depends on too many factors, one of which is how much free time I have, and at the moment that isn’t much. But if anything happens, you can be sure I’ll announce it on my journal and newsletter.