Do I’m on twitter—mostly against my will. I signed up because my publisher told me to, looked around and was still unsure I really wanted to be there. Then my book came out and my publisher listed “following me” as an entry task to possibly win my printed book. So now I have followers following nothing.
There is something very poetic about that somewhere...
But today I decided I liked twitter simply because a stranger used it to tell me she liked my book and was leaving me a review on Amazon (Yay! More stars for the djinni book!). But she also asked if there would be more in the Stone Bearers world--a sequel. It’s twitter, so I gave her the short answer.
“Yes, I really hope so.”
Now here is the “non-twitter” long answer:
The world of Stone Bearers has existed for a very long time. I have been reading and writing since I was child—an extremely insecure child. I tried a few things, but nothing became a “book” until I combined some ideas I had with some world-building ideas my sister had. Then I had a book. A monstrous book. A terrible book. A book I still pull up sometimes and smile, but also wince. Younger-me had so very much to learn, but this story has a special place in my heart that has never dimmed.
So even when I put it aside on the very good advice of some writerly friends, it was always on the back of my mind. I wrote Stone Bearers (then Demon Prince) with ulterior motives. I wanted to tell a fun story that could stand on its own, but in my not-so-secret heart, I hoped it would be a backdoor intro to my true love—my first book, my first series.
So if you ask me if there is a sequel, the answer is “yes, and it’s already written.” But will it be published? That is harder to answer. I want it to be published, and have worked very hard to polish up the current version. It is NOT the same book I wrote so many years ago. I can say without reservation that it is stronger, better than some other books I’ve seen published. I still love it—I can list a few fans who want a sequel, my publisher has expressed general interest in a sequel, so why shouldn’t there be a sequel published?
Then I worry again. Some of the people asking for a sequel speak specifically about wanting more of my main characters. I think that is what people mostly think when they say “sequel,” but under that definition, what I have is NOT a sequel. It’s a companion book with its own main characters. Part of me considered the possibility of throwing out my old goals and notions to give people what they say they want, but the truth is, putting everything else aside, the characters of Stone Bearers have the ending I wanted for them. To “poke” them again would seem to go against the final conclusion, a broken promise.
I never wanted to do a direct sequel for the Stone Bearers main characters and even if people say that’s what they want, I don’t think I could do it well. If this disappoints anyone, this is my official apology. Thank you so much for the support. Thank you for trying to love the characters I love. But there will be no direct sequel to Stone Bearers. And I am so sorry.
Now what about the companion book? As I said, my publisher has expressed some interest in a series. Even when I explained my “non-sequel" sequel idea they have been supportive. But they, of course, can make no promises until they see the book in the flesh and I wouldn’t want them to.
So I am working on the book, but there is an added pressure to it. I feel like I have already let some people down by not having a direct sequel, so while the book might already be “okay,” I feel I have to work even harder to make this book something current fans would accept. My writing group has it now. Hours before getting that “tweet” from a fan, I expressed some of my concerns to one of them. Is the story too straightforward compared to the twists Stone Bearers had? Did it need more of a romantic and humorous element? It may not be a direct sequel, but enough side characters and world elements will carry over that the time for it to be its own book without SOME preconceived notions has passed.
And it was originally written as more “epic” than “fairytale.”
Much of my efforts to edit it now feel as fruitless as trying to slam a square peg into a round hole. Sometimes I think it would be easier to write a different book than continue to work on my “finished” one. But I haven’t given up. Pleasing friends and strangers would be wonderful, but this was my dream, to publish my larger series in some form.
The simple ownership of my own vision means I won’t give up—despite the continued fears and challenges. I will do my best and submit it to my publisher soon, let the chips fall where they may. And as I said before, I have already written a short story on my publisher’s request. That, at least, WILL be published. The tentative schedule will have it released as part of a multi-author Anthology in June and here as free promotional/opt-in material around the same time. It’s a really cute story and I hope some of you will read it.
And I really hope there will also be a “non-sequel" sequel for you to read too.