Remember three months ago when I wrote a teaser post about some "big announcement"? Well, the time has finally come to...you know what, I'm just gonna skip my opening remarks and get right to it. Joel Suzuki, come on down!
Me: Sure. You know what to say. No sense putting it off any longer.
Joel: Um, okay.
Joel: (clears throat)
Joel: As of today, January 12th, 2017, the Spectraland Saga will hereby be known as...should there be a drum roll?
Me: Good idea.
Me: (makes fake drum roll noise)
Joel: ...the Joel Suzuki Series!
Felicity: I never got to vote on this, by the way.
Joel: Yeah...sorry about that.
Felicity: Not your fault, dude. I blame this guy over here.
Me: You know why we did this.
Felicity: Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm just kidding. Mostly.
So as Joel just announced, the Spectraland Saga is now known as the Joel Suzuki Series. Why the change, you ask? Well, there are five main reasons:
1. Probably the most important one is that this series is, at its core, Joel's story. It's his coming-of-age journey as he progresses from being a childlike teenager to a confident young man (or, at least, that's where he might be headed. There are still many books to go!) My editor (the brilliant Susan DeFreitas of Indigo Editing - check out her debut novel Hot Season) pointed this out as she was working on Book Three, and I thought, you know, she's right. As always. So really, it just made sense to make Joel, and not Spectraland, the focal point of the series title.
2. It makes even more sense when you realize that Spectraland is not even the primary setting of Book Three. Most of the story takes place in another location called the Mono Realm. And not to give too much away, but future books in the series will introduce additional settings as well.
3. Moving from art to commerce, another reason is that I discovered that a lot of people seem to have trouble spelling, pronouncing, and/or remembering the word "Spectraland." I have to admit, even I do a quick double-check, just to be sure, whenever I type that word myself. In contrast, "Joel Suzuki" is a lot simpler and more familiar (thanks, Suzuki Motor Company), and I think that, in general, people connect better with the name of a person than the name of a place. There's obviously no way to know for sure, but I'd bet that Harry Potter wouldn't have been quite as popular if the series had been called "The Hogwarts Chronicles."
4. Sometime last year, I stumbled across a production company on the Internet called Spectraland. Now, just for the record, they started after me (Book One came out in 2012, while they began - publicly, at least - a year later), but I figured why not avoid confusion if at all possible? Also, there's now a movie out on Netflix called Spectral.
5. Speaking of movies, as you may have read in the recent Spectrums Magazine article, one of my goals is for this series to become a movie franchise. And I don't know if you've noticed this, but movie franchises (besides James Bond) generally like to have a unifying title for each film - e.g., the second and third (and fourth, sigh) installments in the Hunger Games movie adaptations weren't just called "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay," they were called "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay." And frankly, I just couldn't imagine casual viewers going to see something with "The Spectraland Saga" or even "Spectraland" as its unifying title...
Dad: Can we get two adult and two children for Specter...uh, I mean, Septra, um, I mean...forget it, kids. Let's just watch "Cars 5" at 7:30, okay?
With all of these reasons coming together at roughly about the same time, I thought, "okay, well, maybe this is a change I finally need to make." I actually had thought about doing it earlier, but - as I mentioned in the teaser post - there was one major sticking point, which was that I didn't want to be too Harry Potter-ish and create something along the lines of "Joel Suzuki and the Secret of the Songshell." But now, I basically had to do it. So as I stood there in the shower on the morning of October 1st, 2016, I thought, "How can I do this but still make it my own? It has to be something that's different, something that captures the essential vibe of the series."
That's when it hit me: volumes. Of course! I would subtitle each book as "Volume one," "Volume two," etc. Because, you know, volume...music...right? You see what I did there? So Book One would now be "Joel Suzuki, Volume One: Secret of the Songshell."* That was it! That was the answer! Excited, I cut my shower short and ran downstairs to my computer to write this idea down.
Once I did, I realized something else: if I was going to do this, I would have to go up to eleven. I mean, as all of us Spinal Tap fans know, you can't use the word "volume" and NOT go up to eleven. But did that mean...I would have to expand the series to eleven books?
As some of you may remember from this post, there was a specific reason why I decided that the Spectraland...um, I mean, the Joel Suzuki Series would be seven books: mainly, because each book would correspond to a color on the visible light spectrum (Book One is the red book, Book Two is the orange book, then yellow, then green, etc.) But now, with eleven books, would I have to abandon that idea? I certainly didn't want to.
So I did some quickie research, and you'll never guess what I discovered. Lo and behold, it turns out that there are additional colors outside the visible spectrum, and that there are...wait for it...exactly four of them. Infrared, ultraviolet, black (the absence of all light), and white (the sum of all the colors). This could not get any more perfect. I was already thinking that since I had the whole seven-book story arc sketched out, any additional books would have to be "outside" the main storyline, and this just fit that idea to a T. The whole thing seemed like destiny.
And there you have it. The Big Announcement. There will be more in the coming weeks as we get closer to Book Three, um, I mean, Volume Three's launch, including cover reveals for all three books (because along with the new titles, we are getting all new, original, hand-drawn cover art by the incomparable Jill Colbert, who did the cover of Second Player Score's Nobody's Hero) and another exciting development that I will talk about later.
If you already own the first two books (which I know all of you do, right?) don't worry, the interiors are not changing...much. I had Susan do an edit of Volume One (she wasn't the original editor when that book first came out) just to make things consistent, but the story itself hasn't changed. Spectraland, as it appears in the books, is still called Spectraland. Of course, you could always just keep those copies as collector's items and buy the new versions for the cover art alone (wait 'til you see it).
* I know, it sounds just as long as something like "The Spectraland Saga: Secret of the Songshell," but it's punchier, and "Joel Suzuki" as the unifying title is simpler and looks better on a movie marquee than "Spectraland" or "The Spectraland Saga." Plus, unless they've been living in world without motorcycles, mom or dad should be able to pronounce it. It also sounds way better when you say it in that movie announcer voice - you know the one. C'mon, say it with me: "JOEL SUZUKI, Volume One: Secret of the Songshell. Now playing." Aww yeah, that's the stuff.