Fortunate Son (The Forever Marked #1) by Jay Crownover

Welcome readers, new and old, to the next generation.

If this is your first Jay book, I want to warn you that it is tied very heavily to the very first series I started writing back in 2012: the Marked Men series. I do my very best to write every single one of my titles to stand on its own. This is a full story revolving around all-new characters, so you don’t have to read the other books before this one to enjoy it. However, for a completely satisfying, full series experience, just know that there are several characters in this book who relate to an existing world. If you are curious about the all-powerful and engaging first generation of characters, you can find them all in the Marked Men and Saints of Denver series. I’ve also included a handy-dandy guide showing who belongs to whom and in which books you can find the original couples’ stories if you need a little road map of where to start.

If you’re a reader who has been kicking it with me from the very beginning and have been waiting to see some familiar faces again… you will not be disappointed. There are plenty of cameos from old favorites throughout. Keep in mind, this book is not about the parents, but about the kids. So, if you’re looking for a Marked Men or SoD sequel, this ain’t it. It’s something new that hopefully shows how far these characters have come, and how vastly different my writing and storytelling have become (in all the right ways!). I hope you’re willing to give the new generation a try and approach the them with as much enthusiasm and love as you showed their parents.

I also want to drop a very strong disclaimer about the timeline and setting of this book. It’s set in the theoretical future, some twenty or so years after the final MM/SoD stories. I’m not all-seeing and all-knowing. I’m not a deity or blessed with supernatural powers. I have no clue what the future is going to look like, so if I’m wrong, I refuse to be held accountable. It was already daunting to go back to a set of beloved characters and stories. There is a weight not to disappoint after such a long time. I can’t write a good book with a solid story while obsessing over what cell phones will look like in twenty years, or what style will be back in fashion in the years to come. I kept details around specifics vague for this reason. There are no brand names mentioned, no exact details about schools and businesses that didn’t already exist in the previous books. I typically like to build my literary world with all those nuances, but it wasn’t an option here. So, if you feel the need to contact me personally to say this story doesn’t seem futuristic enough, or you wished the setting looked different than in the original series to show twenty years of growth, I’m going to ignore you. Flat out. I will smash the delete button so fast, it’ll be like you didn’t even send me an email. Same about the nit-picky details of exact ages of the kids. I ballparked where I thought they would be age-wise within the existing continuity. I may have had to take a liberty or two by a few months or even years to make things work. I won’t apologize for it. And honestly, if that kind of thing is a dealbreaker for you a reader, that’s a you thing, not a creator thing. I respect your right to feel that way, but I understand that I can’t write to each and every reader’s preference. There is only one of me and so many of you, so the only person I know I can satisfy with my words and work each and every time is me, myself, and I.

I wasn’t trying to write science fiction. I was just doing my best to bring a book to life in a place that doesn’t really exist. You may think this disclaimer seems harsh or unnecessary, but I assure anyone taking the time to read this, that after nearly a decade of being a professional author, I know exactly what people will tear apart. Just trying to save them time and effort and save myself a headache.

I also want to warn that I will not be engaging with comments or concerns about who from the original series makes an appearance, or who does or does not have children in this new series. I released the family tree and already have readers who are upset by this and that. Listen, not every couple wants kids or is able to have kids. Some couples make the conscious decision just to live their best lives together, and some are emotionally destroyed by not being able to grow their families. I’ve always written to reflect real life and will not give any time to criticism for the creative choices I make. I know you love these characters and are invested in them wholeheartedly, but I created them. They came from my imagination. They were given life through my hands and heart. They exist because I gave my creativity and my time to share them with you. So, I respectfully ask you to recognize that, while you may have your wishes for what should happen with your favorites, at the end of the day it is my call, and I know best how everyone would really end up and what their paths in life look like. After all, I pulled bits and pieces of all of them from my own life and the people who have been in and out of it.