Do You Like Sequels?

The Piano Player's Son - ready to go!Lots of copies of THE PIANO PLAYER’S SON here. Lots of copies but only the one book.

What about if, instead of one book, there was

THE PIANO PLAYER’S SON X TWO?

A Sequel?

A number of readers have said to me recently that they’d like a sequel. They want to know what happened to this character or that after the end of the novel. Or they fell in love with a particular character, and want to read more about them. Or they hated a character and want to see them get their comeuppance! But usually it’s because they enjoyed the novel and want to read more of the story.

And, interestingly, readers made similar comments about UNRAVELLING. ‘I need to know,’ they said. ‘You have to write another.

It’s lovely to know that people have enjoyed the story or the characters so much that they want more of both. And I’m intrigued by the request, mainly because, inevitably, I start to think about where I might take the characters next. By the time a novel is finished, I’m so immersed in the characters’ lives that it would be interesting (and probably easier than starting from scratch) to spend more time with them.

But I’m not sure it’s something I would be tempted to do. I usually plan the story, so that I get the characters to a plateau in their lives. It’s not always a particularly happy plateau (some readers find my novels dark or serious), but they are at a place where all the turmoil that has made up the events of the novel has eased. Things have been resolved for the moment.

But what will happen next is unclear. There is no ‘and they all lived happily ever after’.Β  Why? Because I want readers to decide what happens to the characters, based on the knowledge and understanding they’ve gained during the novel. I want readers to be free to use their imaginations without my imposing events on them.

So, tempting thought the idea might be, I doubt I would write a sequel to any of my novels. I love my characters, but once I finish a story, I’m ready to move on to a new set of characters. To work out new situations, dream up new goals for them, present them with fresh challenges, and in doing so, challenge myself.

What do you think? Where do you stand on sequels?

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6 Comments

  1. Hi Lindsay, I think there are two types of request for sequels. There’s the ‘I loved the characters and want to travel with them further’ kind, and and then there’s the ‘this author hasn’t ended the book in a satisfying enough way so I need to know more’ kind. And I think sequels work best for the first kind of book. I do enjoy a good sequel, but I’m not sure either of your books need one πŸ™‚ Jo

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Jo. That’s an interesting distinction between requests for sequels.
    After I wrote the blog, I remembered the phenomenal success of the 50 Shades trio, and sorry to mention your books in the same sentence(!), but you certainly took your main character in a new direction with your sequel. Mm. Perhaps I need to rethink!

  3. Debbie Young says:

    What an interesting post, Lindsay – and I agree with Jo, it’s one thing to need a sequel to tie up loose ends, and another to want one because you want to spend more time with the characters.

    I don’t think either of your books naturally lend themselves to sequels, Lindsay – you tied up all the loose ends, and there’s not an obvious “next adventure” for any of the characters waiting to be told, which may partly be because they weren’t written with sequels in mind (unlike Jo’s “Murder at the Maples” which is billed as the first Flora Lively mystery, so has created an expectation).

    But there again, I have just enjoyed a very neat and tidy novel with all loose ends tied up, and was surprised (and pleased) when I discovered there was a sequel. The sequel began effectively by untying some of those neat ends, which were tied up again in a different way by the end of the sequel. That was a very satisfying process too. (In case you’re wondering, these two books were Canadian author Francis Guenette’s “Disappearing in Plain Sight” and “Finding the Light” – I highly recommend them.)

    There again, there are authors whose work people will want to read, whatever you write – and that applies all three of you, as far as I’m concerned. Please just keep writing, and write whatever you like!

  4. Polly says:

    Oooh… part of me would love sequels to both of your wonderful novels, Lindsay, and part of me agrees with previous commentators that they were entire in themselves. Just keep writing – the decisions are yours πŸ™‚

  5. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Debbie, and your nice comments about my writing. I can think of what I might do with some of the characters in my novels, and in The Piano Player’s Son, there’s one avenue that could definitely be explored. However, unless that presses itself upon me with a bit more fervour, I’ll probably leave it to readers to imagine. Interesting to learn about your recommendation – I must look the author up.

  6. Lindsay says:

    Lovely comments, Polly – thank you so much. I will keep writing – just need to do it a bit faster!

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