Hello Mixed-Up Filers!
Hope all of you are well! So much has happened since we were last together. I mean, it’s been months. I was ready to come on sooner, but Dorian Cirrone told me I’m not allowed to monopolize the site. I guess she’s right, but I don’t think she realizes how much we mean to each other. Oh, well. In any case, I’m glad this was the week that was my turn. You know why? Well, if you didn’t know, and didn’t read Mindy Alyse Weiss’ post on Monday, and seriously, shame on you, if you didn’t. But, as you may have read, I have a new book out! From Sunset Till Sunrise, which is the sequel to Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, which came out last year.
I’m so, over the moon, excited about it, that I can barely concentrate on anything else. But, it also got me thinking about what goes into a sequel. And also, my feelings this year, as opposed to last. It’s such a whirlwind of emotions, and I’ll have to ask fellow Mixed-Up Files member, Beth McMullen, who’s in the same boat with her fantastic Spy School for Girls series, and see how she felt during the debut, as opposed to the sequel.
But, as for me, I remember feeling all sorts of excitement for my debut. Not, that I wasn’t now, for the sequel, but it was different. Last year, it was the culmination of a dream. I was about to become a published author, after working many years to get to that point. The first time seeing my book on shelves was such an overwhelming emotional moment.
(Me, the first time seeing my book on the shelf)
This year, I didn’t get that same sense of emotion, but I did get a ton of satisfaction about doing something that warranted a sequel. Someone, somewhere, enjoyed these characters I came up with. So much so, that they wanted me to come up with further adventures for them. That, alone, was incredibly fulfilling.
When you write a book, sure, you may want it to be a series, but you can’t go in expecting that. You have to write the book with an ending that can be satisfactory as a stand-alone. Unless a publisher commits to you for a series ahead of time, you can’t leave the reader in suspense about characters that they have invested in. You MUST give them an ending. I can’t tell you how many TV series I’ve enjoyed, that have been cancelled after one season, while the writers left cliffhangers that never got resolved. I mean, the kid in me is still bummed about Voyagers ending without me finding out what happened next. It’s beyond frustrating. So, with both books in my series, I gave endings, but also left open the possibility of more.
There are also rules with regard to characters. Readers expect more of the same traits which made them like the characters to begin with. Devin’s self-doubt. Tommy’s zaniness. Abby’s snark. Etc. But, they also want the characters to grow more in the second book. Devin is much more confident in the second book than he was in the first. Stakes also have to be amplified in the second book. A sequel has to give everything the readers loved in the first book, and more. So, there is definitely more of everything from the first book. And, if the series goes to a third book, then we’d have to amp that up, yet again.
It was tricky to tackle the sequel, since it also has to be treated as a stand-alone. Characters have to be reintroduced for the new readers, while not overdoing it for the readers who have been there since the beginning. It’s a fine line. I, only gave a quick recap of the events in the first book, without mentioning what the resolution was, or what the twists were. Just a glossing over, to let readers know that there is a history there.
All-in-all, I’d have to say that it was a lot of fun. Hopefully, both new and old readers will enjoy this one as much as the first. And, if you haven’t yet read either, well, what the heck are you waiting for? ?
But, seriously, for all of you who have read one, both, or are planning to read, I thank you. It was a joy to write.
If there are other series writers out there, I’d love to hear from you, about your thoughts!