When I wrote my first book way back in 1992, I didn’t see myself as an author who wrote sequels or series. Back then I was a one-book kind of girl, no afterlife necessary for my characters. I focused on one book at a time and enjoyed myself, hoping my readers did too.
But one day, something unexpected happened. After publishing my third book, A Double-Edged Blade, (a time-travel romance set in Ireland), I received a slew of fan mail asking for a continuation of the story. At first I couldn’t imagine doing a sequel. I hadn’t planned it. I didn't have any extended character arcs planned. What kind of plot would I have? Could the characters live on? How? What would they do? How would they do it?
Shortly thereafter, I figured it all out and penned my first sequel, Across a Moonswept Moor. A few years later, I wrote my first series in conjunction with my sister -- a historical trilogy about three sisters who are descendants from the Salem witches. I wrote the first and third books; she wrote the second one.
There is no question that writing a sequel or a series is a challenge. A series requires a lot of foresight, planning and long-term character arcs. For me, plots have to be at least lightly sketched out for a few books in advance. If you have an exact number of books planned for your series, then it's easier. Either way, you need to have a firm idea of where you want to go with your characters and how you want them to change. Personally, I love to revisit my characters in novel after novel. In many ways they have become like family. It's fun to plot and watch their growth as people, lovers and friends.
Now I'm writing a humorous mystery series for Carina Press (www.CarinaPress.com) and having a blast. The first book, NO ONE LIVES TWICE, introduces geek extraordinaire, Lexi Carmichael, and her quirky friends. The second book, NO ONE TO TRUST, expands on those characters and their adventures.
So, how about you? Do you like series or books with sequels and prequels? Why or why not?
Just in case you are new to the series, here’s an short excerpt of NO ONE TO TRUST:
When I was seven my older brother Rock gave me a camera for Christmas. The science of photography fascinated me—the angles, depth and lighting. But I was more interested in how the camera worked than in what I was pointing it at. Fast-forward a few years and here I am, a twenty-five-year-old, single, white, geek girl who can’t take a decent picture of anything.
I’m also a semi-reformed computer hacker, a numbers whiz and a girl with a photographic memory. The whole photographic memory thing is totally overrated, though. Every human has the physiological capability. Most people just don’t have the film.
Lucky for me, I’ve got the film, but I’m also stuck with a geeky reputation. Counter to the stereotypical image, I don’t wear thick glasses held together by duct tape and I no longer own a pair of high-water pants. On the other hand, I’m no Miss America—just your basic tall, skinny girl with no curves and long brown hair. I double-majored in mathematics and computer science and have zero social skills.
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