One of the most frequent questions I get is when do I plan to write sequels to my novels. The easy, quick answer is, “I don’t.”
Within the romance genre are multiple sub- and crossover genres, some of which beg for sequels. A romance with a strong mystery or fantasy thread, or one with a decided action-thriller backdrop (Radclyffe’s Justice series comes to mind), is usually designed from the outset as a series.
The kind of romance novel that I write, however, focuses on the character arc of one or two women, and culminates in the moment when the character(s) is the person she needs to be in order to have a probable chance at happy-ever-after with the woman she loves. Once that story is complete, a sequel would be, to my mind, anticlimactic.
So far, I’ve only written one sequel, and some readers haven’t forgiven me. Watermark was written nine years after Touchwood ended. I wanted to explore grief for one main character and for the other the experience of feeling like she could never measure up to the lost love. I chose the characters from Touchwood, years later, precisely because they were vivid, strong women, deeply bonded.
Another frequent question: Do you plan to write another Frosting on the Cake?
My characters do sometimes simply start talking again. I don’t ignore them, in fact I take a few notes. From those notes grow short stories and from the short stories grows a collection like Frosting on the Cake. So that is definitely a “sequel” I plan to do, but there aren’t yet enough stories to fill it. I am planning to revisit any previous work and assemble a good quantity of stories, but the characters have to speak.
So I wait for that to happen. Reyna and Holly from Substitute for Love really want to talk. Others are clamoring, a few just whispering. At this rate, I’d say Frosting on the Cake 2 might arrive in 2010.
Follow up, 01/08/08
How could I forget? Several of my couples from my romance novels are featured in the short stories of In Deep Waters 1: Cruising the Seas and In Deep Waters 2: Cruising the Strip. Readers will recognize characters from Finders Keepers, In Every Port, All the Wrong Places, One Degree of Separation and Paperback Romance. Radclyffe also features some of her couples in the short stories as well.
Follow up, 04/04/08
Here’s what Gerri Hill has to say about romance novel sequels.