I was super excited to have received a set of the brilliant Young Detective Agency series by Joss Stirling to celebrate the recent release of the final book in the series Scorched.
Scorched was published on the 6th April 2017 by the lovely people at OUP and I literally cannot wait to jump into this series.
So I asked Joss Stirling if she would like to feature on Tales to discuss endings and how it felt to write and ending. Do things ever really end…..
Love is a fire. But who will get burned?
Ember Lord is facing charges for the murder of her father. She was found at the scene of the crime, holding the murder weapon, and refuses to explain herself.
Joe Masters is tasked with getting under Ember’s skin, and breaking through her stony facade; to gain her trust and find out what her plans are now her father’s legally-questionable business is under her control.
But as the two get closer, Joe begins to break down the wall that Ember has built around herself, and gets a glimpse of the truth behind. Is he really falling for a cold-hearted killer? Or is there more to the murder than meets the eye?
The incredible final instalment of Joss Stirling’s Young Detective Agency series, a companion novel to Stung, Shaken, and the award-winning Struck. Romantic thrillers that will make your heart skip a beat.
Check out the other books in this fab series….
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
That’s how most writers feel when they get to the end of a series. I’ve just waved off Scorched to your bookshelves, the last in the Struck series. This was always planned as four books (Struck, Stung, Shaken and Scorched) so I knew I was on the last lap. My young detectives had gone undercover in a boarding school, been on a chase from Jakarta to London, rocked New York and now…well they had to break out of prison, naturally!
Yet there was also the matter of the bigger patterns in the story stretching across all the books. I had settled some things, found partners for my young detectives, but I also needed to discover what would be a suitable stopping point. I knew some things in advance:
– I wasn’t going to do a Hamlet (i.e. all the main characters die)
– It was going to be upbeat, a little euphoric. On this I usually side with Bilbo, here talking to Frodo as his nephew sets out on his quest:
“Have you thought of an ending?”
“Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant.”
“Oh, that won’t do! Books ought to have good endings. How would this do: and they all settled down and lived together happily ever after?”
There is enough darkness in the world without adding to it in a series that, though it covers serious themes, is mainly there for your reading pleasure.
– There ought to be a sense of what life might be like in the future for the characters, allowing of course for the ups and downs we all experience. Perhaps a little bitterness mixed in with the sweet so that it feels more like the mixed-bag-that-is-life?
– Everyone should be there. In a series, a reader invests time in all the characters so it’s only fair the reader gets to see them all again, something like the curtain call at the end of a show.
So, without giving any more away, that was what I was trying to do for the boys from the YDA, Joe, Damien, Nathan and Kieran.
Yet, as Herbert says, there is no real ending. I know I will get messages from readers wanting more – that is like asking for the film to start up again after the credits role. I’m sure that is why J K Rowling added that scene at the railway station at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She was trying to get ahead of the fans. But, of course, that turns out not to be the end either. She went back to it in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It is so difficult to leave your story alone.
Do you have a favourite ending? Thinking about this blog post, I was wondering if there had ever been a poll on this. I found a list on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/574.Best_Ending) which includes a some of my favourites. The Great Gatsby gets my vote for sheer poetry. 1984 for bleakness. A Tale of Two Cities must be one of the most heroic and poignant. The Lord of the Rings also wins for its message that sometimes the heroes don’t get the reward, but it is left to those that they save. Pride and Prejudice is perhaps the happiest.
I can’t possibly try to match the brilliance of these examples but I hope you enjoy what I did in Scorched with my own sense of things coming to an end. However, I should warn you, I’m going to give my last word to the novelist, Graham Greene, who wrote in a book aptly named The End of the Affair:
‘Chemists tell you matter is never completely destroyed, and mathematicians tell you that if you halve each pace in crossing a room, you will never reach the opposite wall, so what an optimist I would be if I thought that this story ended here.’
You can buy a copy of Scorched or any of the fab Young Detective Agency series here or from your local bookshop!
About Joss Stirling
Joss Stirling is the winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2015 for STRUCK (first published as Storm and Stone) – the first time the award has been given to a teen book. You can find a book trailer on this page, where young detectives take a turn to star. The sequels are called STUNG and SHAKEN.
She is also the author of the internationally successful FINDING SKY, STEALING PHOENIX and SEEKING CRYSTAL, the first three books about the Benedict brothers, a family with extraordinary gifts. The stories combine her love for romance, mystery and travel – oh, yes and some seriously attractive heroes.
Readers demanded to know what happens to the remaining brothers so the next in the savant series, MISTY FALLS. Find out which Benedict brother meets his match! The story continues in ANGEL DARES – meet Joss’ most outrageous heroine yet! The series concludes with SUMMER SHADOWS.
Joss lives in Oxford, UK, is married with three children.
You can find out more and speak to Joss at www.jossstirling.co.uk.
Or why not follow Joss on twitter using – @jossstirling
I previously spotlight Joss Stirling’s Benedict Brothers series here
A huge huge thank you to Joss for such a fab post and to OUP for sending me the books and asking me to host!
Have you read Scorched or any of the Young Detective Agency series ? What did you think? What are you favourite types of endings? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!