The first book I published, Farholm, received some lovely comments and some helpful criticisms and quite a few of the remarks were along the lines of, what happens next? After an exciting and dangerous confrontation, the book concluded with most of the mystery solved, the puzzles unravelled, and the characters able to return to their everyday lives. However my readers wanted to know what happened to Deke and Sean and Michael, they wanted to find out more about Michael’s wife Amanda and son James, and Deke’s sister Blaine, and how the islanders coped with the events which had cast such a tragic shadow over them. I left a definite hint of unfinished business on the last page that these people’s lives continued beyond the end of this story, and I did so deliberately because I wanted my readers to go on thinking about my characters.
I however, know exactly what happened to them; the story is not only still running in my head but I have written about 30,000 words. I did so, not for anyone other than myself, because I just can’t let go of my people. It is the same with ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’, some characters remain in Easthope, some depart, I know what they do and where they go, but that is just for me. Similarly in my most recent novel ‘Night Vision’; the book starts with Beulah and Neil Cameron’s marriage teetering on the brink of disaster, by the end of what I have written my readers will know whether it survived or not, but I know beyond the conclusion what happened to Neil and Beulah, to their cousins Austin and Annie, to John and Stephanie and to Rafi and his increasing family.
Sometimes these ‘extras’ turn into something else; the events in ‘Rosa’ were triggered by my imaginings of what happened to some characters after the end of ‘A Strong Hand From Above’. So I have no thoughts of turning any of these written ramblings into anything… except today, as I was driving to Bristol, it did occur to me, that of all my imagined sequels there is one which has sufficient drama, action and character development to maybe become something… but should it? To write it I would have to give away some of the story of the original, so anyone reading the sequel first, would have some of the excitement diminished when they read the first one. It would have to have a great big sticker on the front ‘Warning! This is a sequel, do not proceed unless you have read the first one! Spoiler alert!’
The story I am thinking of is Farholm; once again my characters find themselves in danger and difficulty, there is a mystery and there is suspense, and the tension of whether the personal outcome for the main players will be the same as in the original. So what do you think? A sequel or not?