Monday, February 23, 2015

Guest Post: Donna G. Driver

How to Write a Sequel to a Book That Had an Ending

D. G. Driver 

“I thought the ending, while quite unsettling and heartbreaking, was very well thought out and perfectly satisfying, but I do hope there will be a sequel. I just can't get enough of June, Carter and
Driver's brilliantly engaging writing. And of course, I want to find out how it all will turn out.” Evie Seo,
Bookish, from her review of my YA fantasy novel Cry of the Sea.

She wasn’t the only one who wrote something like this. Several reviews hinted at the need for a sequel. Many of my friends have pestered me about writing a second book. I’ve had notes from readers asking if I was working on the next one.

I love that people want more of this story. It’s extremely flattering. The thing is, I’m not sure why they want it. In my mind the novel came to an end. The big plot point of my novel was resolved. There are some minor points left open, but I certainly didn’t create a cliffhanger of any sort. Cry of the Sea is a story about Juniper Sawfeather, a daughter of environmental activists, who discovers mermaids washed up on the beach during an oil spill. Her battle throughout the book is to keep them from being exploited or destroyed by her parents, the media, the kids from school, and the oil company itself. I don’t think it spoils anything to say that the novel does come to a conclusion regarding those mermaids.

My publisher has asked me to write a sequel, too, and has poked me periodically over the year that has passed since the book came out to get it done. It took me nearly half a year to figure out what I wanted the plot to be for the second book. I knew that the focus couldn’t be on the mermaids; it had to be on Juniper. When I originally came up with the premise for Cry of the Sea, I saw it as an X-Files-ish story with a main character that encounters unlikely creatures. To that end, I knew for a sequel Juniper would have to discover another mythical being, and it had to have another environmental theme. I decided to make it about some kind of tree nymph interfering with a lumber company, but it was still really vague in my head how to write it.

I started researching American Indian mythology (Juniper’s heritage), and I found the most amazing thing: there is a legend of brothers who were magically transformed into a tree, a stone, and a merman. What???? Suddenly, it all came clear to me how this legend would make my new story idea work and tie in neatly to the first book – and maybe even give me enough fuel for a third. My stand-alone concept is now going to be a three-parter!

I’m ¾ of the way through and hope to finish soon. In the meantime, take a look at Cry of the Sea if you haven’t yet. I hope you’ll enjoy it and find yourself eager to read the next book, which is finally flowing out of my brain.

 D. G. Driver social media links:
Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor

Where to find Cry of the Sea? Here's a few places:

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