For the Fall 2013 children's announcements issue, we spoke with nine writers whose trilogies are drawing to a close this fall. They shared what it takes to keep dozens of characters and thousands of pages straight--and how it feels when it's all over.

At what point did you know this was a trilogy?

Honestly? When an editor told me so. This particular editor, who actually didn’t end up with the series, was so in love with the world that he flat-out said that this had to be a trilogy because there was much more story here than even I knew.

Any favorite scene or character you had to leave on the cutting room floor?

I had this really fabulous dog-sled scene I was going to integrate into the last book. Even learned how to mush. (Tip: when the dogs want to go really fast around a turn? Don’t let them.) But when it came time to slot this in, I discovered I could tell the story much more economically if I just killed the whole thing. So I did.

Did anything develop plot-wise that completely surprised you?

Plot-wise, not that much. Character-wise? My goodness, those guys said and did some of the darnedest things. The problem is the final book’s not out, so I can’t tell you! I will say that two characters asserted themselves in ways I hadn’t imagined and because of them getting so uppity, the book didn’t end the way I’d thought it would. They just wouldn’t let me do it.

How does it feel to have finished?

First off, I’m like: way to go, girl. I mean, heck, I wrote a honking big story. But I also get kind of morose and empty-feeling, too. If I think about it too long, I get all gooey. I went through scads of Kleenex because, with every detailed read-through, I became a wreck: all weepy and shattered and just in total denial that I had to say good-bye to these characters all over again.

What reward did you give yourself for finishing?

A very dry martini—and permission to do nothing but life maintenance for a week.

Click here to read the other interviews.