Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Calculus of Writing A Sequel

Every now and then I get an email from a reader saying, “You really need to write a sequel to this book.” Depending on what book they want a sequel to, I respond either telling them what I have planned or why I do not have anything planned. I have never set out with the intention of writing a series of stories or novels but somehow I have. Now that I have three series in the works I have come to the realization that there are only two reasons that would compel me to do this again: 1.) the characters were so interesting and so much fun that I just can't help myself, or 2.) the first books in the series sold so well I'd be an idiot not to.

With The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall stories the characters practically wrote themselves. They were definitely a case of Reason #1. There were days when I couldn't type fast enough to tell the story. I wrote the first WBW story, TheReluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood, because the holidays were coming and I wanted to write something for that market. But even as I was working on it ideas were popping up right and left and I kept stopping to make notes. I wound up writing a total of 11 stories—released in three volumes—of those stories and, at this point, I have 2 more written for the next set of stories. These characters were determined to have their stories told.

When I wrote The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic I had no intention of writing a second story and it took me 2 years to come up with the idea for The Crazy Old Lady's Revenge. This was a case of the stories selling so well that I'd have been foolish not to write more Reason #2). COL Revenge and the third story, The Crazy Old Lady Unleashed, are doing great. At the end of COL Unleashed I said there wouldn't be any more stories but I am starting to rethink that. These characters have grown so much over the last 2 books that I spend a lot of time thinking about them and what will happen next.

My Halcyon Beach ghost stories are somewhere in between Reason #1 and Reason #2. I love the setting and I love ghost stories. They are my second best sellers (behind the COL stories) so writing more is a worthwhile enterprise but it also allows me to spend time in my favorite locale, Halcyon Beach.

So where does this leave my other books? The three novels—The Old Mermaid's Tale, Each Angel Burns, and Depraved Heart —are stand alone works and probably always will be. The Monday Night Needlework & Murder Guild sells well and a few people have said they'd like to read more about the feisty ladies of Miss Serena Pitts' Needlework Guild. A lot of people love Arthur's Story: A Love Story but it is not a big seller and, as my friend Ray said, “Arthur's happy now. Leave him alone.” Good point.

For my part, I have more characters dancing around in my head than I keep up with. The characters for the third Halcyon Beach story are clamoring for attention. The citizens of Marienstadt keep reminding me of stories I forgot to tell, and there is a guy by the name of Asher Night who has been bugging me for a couple years to tell people about him.

And then there is Ramin Aria. Ramin Aria is an art dealer from Paris who has recently purchased GrammyLou's townhouse on Beacon Hill. He is a mysterious man—Cushing Phillips already has a crush on him. In fact, this is what we know about him so far: Ramin Aria had a smile of dazzling whiteness against skin the color of cappuccino. In fact everything about him was dazzling. He was a slender man but big-shouldered with large, muscular hands, and a face with strong features—high, sharp cheekbones, and a square jaw. His thick black hair swept back from his face in subtle waves and brushed his collar. He wore his sideburns long with just the suggestion of a beard, but his most arresting feature was his eyes. They were large and wide under heavy brows and the strangest color Cushing had ever seen—the color of honey around the irises but changing to light olive green and then to a deep olive. Cushing had no idea of Aria's age but as he sat, nearly speechless in the presence of such beauty, he thought he had seen this man somewhere before.

Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you enjoyed this post, please comment and leave contact information if you would like a response. Commenting rewards the authors/artists and pretty much makes our day!