The Leathan Series: Order of Reading/Writing

last updated: 13 June 2017 (approximate reading time: 3 minutes; 485 words)

I often get asked: In what order should I read the Leathan Wilkey series?

And my response is always the same: Read the books in whatever order you want…they weren’t written in order.

People seem quite happy with the notion that the books can be read in any order—each book largely stands on its own. But they seem surprised by the haphazard order of writing.

Let me explain how I got to where we are.

Diplomatic Baggage

I had an idea about a father of a murder victim setting up another man to take the blame for the crime.

From this nugget the entire story flowed (although it did change along the way). Fully realized—with Leathan fully fleshed out as a the man who thinks he’s being set up—Diplomatic Baggage became the first Leathan book that I wrote.

The Camera

I followed Diplomatic Baggage by writing what at the time was intended to be the second book in the series, The Camera.

Having written the first two books, before I launched the series I wanted to have a novella that I could give away to introduce people to Leathan.

Clementina

I had an idea for a novella which was something of a prequel to Diplomatic Baggage. It involved Leathan babysitting a rich 17-year-old.

I got about 20,000 words into the story and found I had a problem. The story I was trying to tell was not the sort of tale that could be told in a novella length book. Added to which, as the story continued Clementina was growing as a character, moving from being a snotty-nosed little bitch (which is where she starts) to being a much more nuanced and rounded individual.

So I had the choice: either I could keep the novella short or I could make it into a full-length book. Making it short would end the story abruptly and prematurely, so I decided to write the full-length book, and hence Clementina the novel was born.

So as you will now have figured I wrote the first book third.

Bag Man

I still wanted to write a novella which could introduce the series.

Clementina explains, to a certain extent, how Leathan arrived in Paris. I wanted a bit of connective tissue to get Leathan from Clementina to Diplomatic Baggage. The novella (which became Bag Man) was that connective tissue.

The Final Order

And that is how I got the four books. As you can see, in story chronology:

  • book #1, Clementina was written third
  • book #1.5 (the novella), Bag Man was written fourth
  • book #2, Diplomatic Baggage was written first
  • book #3, The Camera was written second

So when I say you can read the series in any order, I hope you can see my point.

That said, Whisper a Prayer the fourth full-length/fifth Leathan book will be written fifth, but you’re probably going to have to wait a while for publication.

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Category: background
People: Leathan Wilkey