Hat Trick: Noun. the scoring of three goals in a game by one player, chiefly in hockey or soccer.
When I finished Hat Trick in 2013, it was designed as a standalone novel. It felt like the story of Simon and Alex was best suited to the story of how they got together in high school. But then I had an idea to bring some closure to Simon on some events that went down with his family in that book. That became the seed that grew into a second book, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound.
As I worked on book two, which was set in the couple's sophomore year at college, I was inspired to write a short that would send the guys to play some hockey, outdoors, at New Year's. Suddenly, there was Hat Trick Overtime: A Classic Winter's Night. It was a brief, sweet, look at the two while they were freshmen at the University of Michigan.
Hat Trick 2, for a while, was going to be the only sequel. While I was working on it, I was still very much a pantser writer, just writing what came to me and knowing that I would clean it all up in editing. However, as the book approached the size of the first book, it was clear I was telling more story than one book could hold. It became clear a third book was needed. Splitting up the books also marked the start of moving to being a plotter. I still seat-of-my-pants my way through the scenes, but I need to figure out what the initial set of scenes are to avoid trouble.
I enjoyed creating the first Overtime story so much, I decided to do it again. This was a way to look at Simon and Alex during the summer. The books, because school and hockey plays such a big part of their lives, are always set in the fall and winter. But, I could use the short to get the guys away from school and into summer for a brief adventure. Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp allowed Simon and Alex, and their best friend Leo, to spend a month together coaching youth hockey in the summer before their senior year.
This fall, the final Simon and Alex novel arrives. Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot have Simon and Alex as seniors at Michigan. The boys tackle a few different things, not the least of which is what their future holds once they graduate. Along the way, they work with a new hockey team that features a wide spectrum of players and face a challenge that will test their relationship in a way it's never been before. I'm excited to bring these stories to everyone. You'll hear more about it all as the release date get closer.
While Hat Trick 3 completes the hat trick of novels. There will also be a final Hat Trick Overtime this fall as well so that there'll be a trio of shorts. I don't want to reveal the subtitle on this one or give up any details. Suffice to say I think it'll put a nice bow on top of the series.
It's quite possible, however, that this isn't the end of the road for the characters. I removed a character named Sean from Hat Trick 3 because there wasn't room to do justice to his story. I think you'll meet him sometime in 2016 in a standalone book that would be part of the extended Hat Trick universe. There're also fans who've asked for the story of Leo and Matt, a couple that gets together in the first book and continues to appear in the series. Writing their falling-in-love-story, which you don't get in detail in the Hat Trick books, is on my writing calendar, too.
With the upcoming release of Hat Trick 3 and the final Hat Trick Overtime short, this summer is the perfect time to catch up on the series so you'll be ready for the finale!