Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Top 3 Differences Between Writing Spark and Flare (Flare Blog Tour)

We are so excited to welcome special guest (and Lands Uncharted alumna!) J.M. Hackman to the blog today as part of her Flare blog tour! Flare, the second book in Jill's Firebrand Chronicles, just released on February 26th. We'll share more about it below, but first Jill is going to tell us about the top three differences between writing Spark (The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One) and Flare. Enjoy!

Writing is a tough job, but there are certain instances where the job is more difficult than expected. The differences I encountered with Spark’s sequel were surprising, especially since I knew Flare’s plot. After all, that’s all a writer really needs to know, right? Um, maybe not.

1.) Time: I wrote Spark in six leisurely years—although I’m a turtle writer, I indulged in lots of world building, played with point of view, and changed the major story arc. If I didn’t feel like writing, I didn’t. But with Flare, I felt the urge to finish...yesterday.

2.) Continuity: Spark was finished and into the wild. Flare was in process, and book three (now titled Burn) was a twinkling gem of unexplored opportunity. I needed to link Spark’s storyline to that sparkling possibility with an amazing story. And I wanted it done seamlessly. Instead, it was kind of like herding cats, as I checked and rechecked details on characters’ backstories, timelines, and the culture of my world.

3.) Expectations: My publisher didn’t ask me to complete Flare in a certain time frame; I did that to myself, although I knew sooner was better. Plus, I feared disappointing my readers with a lackluster sophomore effort. So some of my writing time was tainted with self-doubt. I finally locked away the critic and focused on just telling the story. I hope you enjoy the final product!

I'm sure we will, thank you so much for sharing with us today, Jill! In case you missed Spark, here's the back cover blurb (and gorgeous cover!!):

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands.

Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.

When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil.

Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?

Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello, Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time?

And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?

And HERE are the amazing cover and back cover blurb for Jill's newest release, Flare

Brenna travels to Linneah via portal to visit her boyfriend Baldwin, only to find heartbreak. Betrayal. A serious case of never, ever wanting to see him again. Worst summer vacation ever. 

So when her best friend Tiny invites her on a road trip to meet Tiny’s fiancé, Brenna jumps at the chance. Even if her mother disapproves. Even if it’s through a dangerous travel portal. Even if Tiny has never met this fiancé handpicked by her dad. Anything’s better than staying in Linneah. 

But the trip disintegrates into disaster. The two friends are separated, Brenna is kidnapped, and not only are Brenna’s Firebrand skills tested to the limit, she must participate in the dangerous event, Starfall . . . or go home. Broke. Alone. With a shattered heart. So not fun. 

And then as if that’s not bad enough? Brenna discovers a plot that could spell disaster for everyone she holds dear. And no one believes her. 

Can she prevent a bloody government takeover? And what will become of Brenna’s broken heart?

You can find purchase links for Spark here and Flare here. Now a little more about the lovely author herself:

J. M. Hackman loves thunderstorms, bookstores, and happy endings. She’s never met a reading nook she didn’t like and prefers soul talk to small talk. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her two munchkins and her handsome husband who supports her in this crazy profession. Her days are filled with writing stories, consuming massive quantities of dark chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds.

You can connect with Jill on her website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Amazon. Thanks again for stopping by today, Jill, and congratulations on your new release!

Make sure to catch the other stops on the Flare Blog Tour! Here's a list of all the posts:


  1. I feel your pain, Jill! I'm working on the prequel to Fairyeater and it feels like I'm walking in a three foot deep swamp of mud. Congrats on pushing through! That's what I need to do, too.

    1. You'll get there, Pam! I'm looking forward to reading the prequel! ☺

  2. My second novel was a lot harder to write as well. It was terrible and is still in re-write phase (I love where it's going now though). Even my third (To Catch a Magic Thief) was tough. It was partly needing to do all the worldbuilding (I wrote the first not expecting to write any more in that world) and switching from a single POV to two POVs.

    1. I agree--world building can kind of takeover. But I'm looking forward to reading The Rose and The Wand and To Catch A Magic Thief!

  3. Thanks, Lands Uncharted, for hosting me and allowing me to share. 💜 It was great to visit with you.


Please note that your comment hasn't gone through unless you see the notice: "Your comment will be visible after approval." We apologize for any difficulties posting comments or delays in moderation.