I have just submitted book 1 of The Mirage Makers trilogy to Harper Collins Australia - made the contract deadline by the skin of my teeth, and have now embarked on that period termed "author trepidation" by my colleague, Alma Alexander. What will the editor think of it? What will my agent think of it? It is set in a totally different world. So, why a trilogy anyway? For me, the answer is simple. I am selling first to the Australian market, and in OZ that's what sells in the genre. Publishers say that stand alones don't sell - unless your name happens to be Terry Pratchett. If it weren't for that, I would probably write several stand alones that were set in the same world, rather than trilogies. For those of you who have read my first trilogy, The Isles of Glory, you will realise that I tend to give each book a fairly satisfactory ending anyway, although - as in life -it is also obvious that there is a larger story that is not finished yet. I don't believe in cliffhanging. That's ok for a TV show that comes on again next week; to my mind it is not ok for a story that will take another year to see the next episode. I've done the same with this book 1 : The Heart of the Mirage. It has an ending, and although I hope there is enough there to draw the reader back for a further installment, it also won't frustrate them by keeping them nail-biting on the cliff for months. (Ok, so a nail-biting cliff-hanging dude may be in real trouble...) And now I am writing book 2, tentatively entitled The Exaltarch. And just as I did in Gilfeather, bk 2 of the Isles, I am making a special effort to avoid the "middle book syndrome", where nothing much is resolved except that things get much worse for the hero/heroine. I am told that the ending of Gilfeather knocked people's socks off and I intend to do the same with The Exaltarch. I hope. I refuse to write the stereotypical trilogy!