Today we’re happy to have WOW! blog tour author Sydney Avey to celebrate the release of: The Lyre and the Lambs. In her guest post, Sydney discusses her thought process behind the decision to write a sequel to her debut novel The Sheep Walker’s Daughter.
AND YOU CAN WIN A COPY of The Lyre and the Lambs, after you read Sydney’s thoughts on writing a sequel in “To Sequel or not to Sequel.”
To Sequel or not to Sequel
By Sydney Avey
You’ve hooked your readers on a sweet setting, a charming cast of characters, or a cliff hanging plot; why not go for a sequel or, better yet, a series? Readers love a series. Publishers love them even more. Knowing this, when I wrote my debut novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, I left the door open for a sequel.
When readers said they wanted more of Father Mike and asked to know what the future held for mother and daughter Dee and Valerie, I was interested enough myself to go ahead and write a sequel, The Lyre and the Lambs. However, even though I am tempted by readers like Teri who said, “I hope there is a follow-on planned soon. I want to grow old with Dee!” I have no plans to write a series about the Moraga Clan.
Why ever not? Here are three questions to consider when you are making a decision about a sequel or a series.
- What is your motivation? If you are building a career that you hope will sustain you financially over many years, and if you have found a niche in a genre that holds your passionate interest, you would probably be foolish not to sign that four-book contract. But if you are a more experimental writer, full of ideas for different treatments and themes, you might not want to set reader expectations that will be hard to break. Readers who devour your cozy mysteries may turn a cold shoulder if you detour into magical realism.
- Do you have it in you? I have read series where the first book was great, the second was good, and the third fell short. I suspect that authors get caught up in the pressure to meet short deadlines, and the writing suffered. If you treat your writing as a business you are more likely to succeed at a series than if you view your writing as a journey of discovery. One is not the more excellent way, but writing a series will be more constricting.
- Does your genre lend itself to a series? Plot driven genres like crime, mystery, Amish or vampire teen romance that feature strong characters lend themselves well to a series. Unless you are a writer of the caliber of John Updike, literary fiction does not.Most exciting are the genre-bending writers. By introducing time travel into the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon has journeyed into the histories of Scotland, England and the United States in the guise of romance, adventure, and science fiction/fantasy, and cut herself a sweet cable TV series in the process.
Yes, you owe it to your readers to be engaging and your publisher to make money, but you owe it to yourself first to do the work that brings you joy.
It’s the Sixties. Modernity and tradition clash as two newlywed couples set up house together. Dee and her daughter Valerie move with their husbands into a modern glass house Valerie built in a proudly rural Los Altos, California neighborhood. When their young relatives start showing up and moving in, the neighbors get suspicious. Then a body is found in the backyard and the life they are trying to build comes undone.
Father Mike is back to guide Dee through a difficult time with humor and grace, even as his own life is unraveling. Now he’s going to have to take some of his own advice about love.
The Lyre and the Lambs explores the passions that draw people together and the faith it takes to overcome trauma.
About the author:
Sydney Avey is an author of historical and women’s fiction set in California. The Lyre and the Lambs is the sequel to her first novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, which won an honorable mention from the Center for Basque Studies (University of Nevada, Reno) in their Basque Literary Contest. Both novels were published by HopeSprings Books, a small publishing house that promotes realistic Christian fiction.
Sydney and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work is has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and has studied writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives with her husband Joel the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Visit Sydney at www.sydneyavey.com and sign up to receive her monthly News for Readers and Writers.