Sam Sykes wrote a book. Well, he wrote several books, but one of those books escaped his head and attacked a publisher and now is on bookstore shelves and whenever you go into one of those bookstores, the booksellers stare at you with dead eyes and then those dead eyes roll out of their heads like discarded marbles and there in the darkness of the sockets is a pair of tiny Sam Sykeses, and those two little Sams sing the refrain of a familiar song: BUYYYYY MY BOOOOOK.
Anyway, hey, look, here’s Sam now!
* * *
Did you know I wrote a book? It’s called The Mortal Tally. It’s a good ‘un. You can find it in your local bookstores. Please buy it. Okay, thanks.
…what? What’d you say?
…MORE? Jeez, I thought I did pretty good already, but…uh…
It’s the second book in my new trilogy, Bring Down Heaven.
And to be honest, that fact gave me some pause.
I feel like the second book in a trilogy is usually met with some tension from both authors and readers, thanks to a long and storied past filled with disappointments. Authors are never quite sure how to keep the tension going between the exciting rush of the new first book and the dramatic conclusions of the third book. This occasionally translates to readers who are less than enthused to see a book that becomes the literary equivalent of treading water.
Both of these weighed heavily on me as I started in on The Mortal Tally. Fortunately, I had the advantage of this being my second second book in a trilogy, so I had learned a few lessons, which I would like to share with you today.
And I think the very first and biggest problem facing a second volume comes from the fact that both writers and readers go into one without a clear expectation of what they want.
They want the story to continue, of course, but they don’t know how. They want to get between books, but they want to feel like something has happened so their time wasn’t wasted. They want to feel like this story works on its own, but also bridges the two.
[Read more by clicking on the title.]