Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On writing the sequel

A few months ago, my trilogy was picked up by St. Martin’s Press. The first book, titled The Hunt, is due to be published in Spring of 2012.

I’m now working on the second book in the trilogy. 

It’s a strange place to be in.

You’re writing full-time but, with the publication date for Book One almost a year away, it somehow doesn’t feel quite real. There’s no tangible proof that you’re an author: you can’t go into a bookstore and hold your book aloft, you don’t have readers emailing you, you don’t have a book cover or even design mock-ups to show yet. Your blog has one consistent reader (and he doesn’t count, because he’s your brother).

But it’s also a really neat place to be in. Because it’s given me the necessary space and time I need to plunge myself into the sequel without the distraction of marketing/promotional work. I know that time is coming (in about only a year!) when I’ll be promoting Book 1, editing Book 2, and writing Book 3, when I’ll wistfully look back to these quieter, more spacious days. 

The internet is rife with blogs about just how much work it takes to write a good Book 2 of a trilogy. Let me tell you: they’re right. Writing the second book is challenging. It has to advance story arcs, develop character relationships, deepen mystery threads, all the while without bringing final resolution. Yet it has to stand on its own, provide in its own way some level of resolution and plot climax. Pictorially, I liken Book 2 to an enticing bridge that people can’t wait to get on, provides enjoyment for those crossing it, but which also leaves them hungry for more, eager to embark on the next leg of the journey. A tall task! 

Which leads me back to why I love the quiet and space the next few months will afford me. Every day I wake up, knowing that I’ll have a chunk of time to dive into the world of Gene and the hepers, and the joy that brings me is at times intoxicating. That’s not to suggest there aren’t difficult (and sometimes %@#! frustrating) days; I’ve had many, and there’ll be plenty more ahead. But I love the feeling of turning on my computer, setting my ice coffee down next to me, and having the next few hours to make real the imaginary world in my head. It's a pure time, when all I have to measure my day's success is whether the pages I write are internally true to my own vision. When I won't be affected by reader's expectations (I read somewhere that it's the expectations of the glowing reviewers - and not the bad ones - who can most affect your vision) but only by my inner compass of uncompromised rightness.


  1. A) Love the new site/look!

    B) I am not your brother.

    C) Glad you're enjoying this time. :) So many authors talk about wishing they had appreciated it more. Looks like you got to learn from their mistakes (or maybe it just wasn't in your nature to make this one yourself).

  2. Kristan - you're the first to leave a comment on my new site! I feel like there should be prize or something. Thanks for visiting!

  3. I'm a consistent reader too, and also not your brother, lol! (I'm Stephanie on the old site) I'm loving the site - is this the better looking site that your editor wants? :D

    I can't for The Hunt, and definitely enjoy yourself with Book 2!