Here’s a rough idea of what I want to accomplish with my new book. Last fall, I published Henrietta’s Journal. It took the form of a diary written by a young English woman who came to Charleston, South Carolina as a bride. The story was set in the 1830s and focused on Henrietta’s struggles to adapt to a society based on the peculiar institution of slavery, an economy based on a single crop—cotton, and a strict patriarchal social order.
The new book, tentatively called Henrietta’s Legacy, jumps ahead some 25 years, landing the reader at the outbreak of the Civil War. The family has undergone some changes, of course, and there are secrets and closeted skeletons galore. The keys to some of the 1860 problems lie hidden in the 1830s diary. I want each book to be able to stand alone, but I’d also like the reader to be able to jump back and forth between the two. In chapter two, for example, Henrietta’s brother-in-law is contemplating becoming a smuggler, a latter-day pirate, and a blockade runner. Henrietta reminds him that he’s been talking about this crazy idea for 25 years. I would like the Legacy reader to be able to jump to the relevant episode in Henrietta’s Journal and read the letter he wrote to his father about the same idea during his first trip to Cuba in 1835.
For those readers who will purchase the trade paper editions of both books, it will be a simple matter to add the appropriate page numbers to the new text. But what about the Kindle editions? Digital versions of the two books should make this possible, but I’ve never seen it happen. Which of these formats do you recommend?
1. The reader has both books separately on the same device, and uses the section numbers to jump back and forth. But how would that work? Can you keep two books going at once on a Kindle?
2. The new book uses footnotes at the end of the new book to show nothing but the relevant quotes.
3. The two books are published in an additional format—as a boxed set that contains both complete manuscripts with internal connections between them. The Journal, by the way, has approximately 83,000 words; I’m guessing that Legacy will come close to 100,000 words. That will make a file of nearly 200,000 words, but will leave the choice up to the reader.
4. Is there another way to handle this?