One thing I have learned while writing this book: do NOT leave sixteen months between a book and its sequel.
It was incredibly difficult to get back into the world of Michael, Sean, Evan, Daniel, Josh and Chris...
And yet once I was back in? The boys were there - and they'd grown up a little.
They needed to. This last book was always going to be the tough one to write.
Writing about Daniel's abuse, and Josh's abduction - those were tough enough, but there were times when I was crying as I was typing Final Exam.
So how have the boys matured in this long gap?
Well, there are fewer pet names, for a start. And Evan and Daniel have emerged as a really strong couple.
It would be easy to think that Josh & Chris were strong, too, but they've only been together such a relatively short time, and they're still growing.
But as for Michael & Sean...
When I started to write their story, back in February 2012, I hadn't anticipated writing a series. Half way through, I knew I'd write Evan's book next. The idea for Josh and Chris came a short while after that. But I knew what was going to happen with Sean in April 2012. I had all the research sitting in a folder, waiting until I was ready. Except that other books came into the picture, namely the men of Collars & Cuffs, and the Personal series.
In the summer of 2013, Elizabeth North and I came up with a list of titles that I would write, and the order in which to write them. It was time to end the series.
But is it the end?
Well, there's a wedding to look forward to, for a start, and a graduation.
Not to mention a pair of young men who are pushing their boundaries.
Yeah, I think it's safe to say there are a few novellas lurking around somewhere, waiting to be written.
Watch this space :)