Release Day! + 6 Terrifying Stages of Writing a Sequel

Originally posted at: Austen Authors

Duels, Dancing, and Destiny!

Today, September 30, is the release day for my newest book! E-book and paperback available on Amazon now!

The Highbury Variation continues! Elizabeth’s quickly ended engagement to Mr. Knightley, as well as her sister’s engagement to Mr. Bingley, has people throwing around words like fortune-hunter and hussy. Will Mr. Darcy be deterred by the resistance of society and his family?
Meanwhile Jane Fairfax’s position as a governess is threatened by the unwanted attention of several gentlemen. When a bet is made about her in a gentleman’s club, her reputation teeters on the edge of a cliff. But is Mr. Tom Bertram of Mansfield actually offering insult or… something more? How could she possibly trust this rakish friend of Mr. Churchill’s?
Join Elizabeth and Jane as they navigate love and loyalty in the refined drawing rooms of Regency London.

From London with Loyalty is the most action-packed Regency novel I’ve written, and it was a blast to write. It did take more planning and plotting and well, work(!), than some novels have, but I am very pleased with the result. In fact, as (almost) always happens by publication day, I feel like this might be the best book I’ve ever written! I know that feeling is mostly a writer’s high, but it is so satisfying to see one’s skills improve. I know if I had attempted a book this complicated and humorous and dramatic five years ago… it would not have turned out the way I imagined it!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I really appreciate the community and encouragement here! The awesome readers and writers who come here make it a joy to be a Jane Austen writer.

6 Stages of Writing a Sequel with a Deadline

I was pondering the differences between writing a first book and a second (or third, fourth, etc.) where you’ve given yourself a deadline, so I though I’d share my experience/blueprint!

  1. Stage 1 – Basking: Well, I’ve put up a sequel on Amazon for preorder. I had better write it. But… I mean, the preorder date isn’t for months! Look at the sales coming in on Book 1! The Goodreads reviews! My friend from high school actually read it! My mom even likes it! Wow!
  2. Stage 2 – First Reality Check: When did I set that preorder for? Wait. WUT. I was definitely on a writing high when I made that adventurous deadline. People have expectations for this! I had unfinished plot threads! It must be written! But everything will still be okay. I’ve been thinking about it for months and I know exactly what I want to have happen and the character arcs and the setting and the climax. Let’s open that Word doc and see where I was… Immediately and completely overwhelmed. Shut Word Document.
  3. Stage 3 – Lift off: I open Word Document again, because I’m a professional, darn it! I type 3 sentences and find myself eating cottage cheese out of a carton while staring moodily at the Nutella chocolate. Stop! Go back to the couch! In this stage the writing actually begins. It is punctuated by FREQUENT trips to the first book to remember some detail that I thought I would remember. I did not.
  4. Stage 4  – Second Reality Check: A solid beginning and middle has been written. But I realize what I thought ought to be the climax has come and… isn’t the climax. It’s interesting and exciting, but clearly it’s building to something else. Keep writing. This phase is often punctuated by the need to look up a Regency word or detail… but not as often as it was with my first historical book. The tension is still building. If I was reading this I would feel like a great ending was coming. I HOPE A GREAT ENDING IS COMING.
  5. Stage 5 – Ground Effect: The momentum of writing has finally taken hold and it is getting easier to pour out this story the same way a plane gets upward push at a certain altitude. (I got this analogy from Dean Wesley Smith. I love his writing advice.) I furiously write to the end! Look through my character list and double check that I’ve given each of them at least a moment of closure. Add another scene. I remember that readers like to dwell in the happiness for a bit. Add three more scenes. WHERE IS THE END OF THIS BOOK? Oh, wait. There it is! Heavenly chorus!
  6. Stage 6 – Editing: Now I’m eating the Nutella. Some chapters, it’s like – wow, I wrote this! Others it’s like – wow, I wrote this? Some dialogue is great, other parts are cringe-worthy. Did I change the name of that character mid-book? (I did.) Read through one last time for continuity and error-check. Then, I clench my muscles like I’m an astronaut trying not to pass out from 4 g’s and send the document to my copyeditor! (Then I stay up all night thinking of better ways to phrase the final proposal.)

And that’s it! Easy peasy! (Much like drawing the reindeer!)

Thanks so much for your encouragement along the way. From London with Loyalty is available in both eBook and paperback!

Happy Release Day!

Corrie

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