March of the Sequels – L.A. Wasielewski

Welcome to March of the Sequels, L. A.!

First of all tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel.

My Alchemist Trilogy (Book one is The Alchemist: Dawn of Destiny) is an adult epic darkfantasy series that follows the story of Ryris Bren, an alchemist who harbors the power of magic—forbidden in his world.  He’s kept it a secret his whole life.  When he moves to the big city from his small village to open another alchemy shop (away from his father), a chance encounter while harvesting ingredients changes his life and he realizes Lady Destiny has had him and his magical ability in her sights since even before his birth….  (dun dun dunnnnnnn!)

The sequel, The Alchemist: Dark Horizon, is where the series definitely takes a darker turn, and Ryris’ world is turned completely upside-down.  Betrayals, missing friends, new companions, impending war, and two antagonists who feed off of each other’s specific brands of malice.  A maelstrom that threatens to send Ryris and his world even deeper into a tailspin.

The third and final book, The Alchemist: Awakening, well…you’ll just have to read to find out what happens.  Hehe.

Do you find that most of your readers continue to read the whole series? Why do you think that is? Is it easier to further develop characters you’ve already written in book one? 

I have a few readers that I know personally that have read the entire series now.  I definitely sold more of the first book than either of the two sequels.  I don’t know if it’s because people were hesitant to buy/read Dark Horizon before they knew for sure if the trilogy would be finished or what. Hopefully its not because they hated Dawn of Destiny so much they didn’t want to continue! But now that all three books have been released, I’m still not seeing a ton of sales/reviews of the last two volumes.  It’s perplexing.  Marketing indie/selfpubbed books is hard work, and definitely disappointing sometimes when you put in so much effort to get your stories noticed and then are greeted with crickets and no sales.  

It was definitely easier to write Dark Horizon.  Awakening had a lot of challenges for many different reasons, some writing-related, some personal/life-related.  With Dark Horizon, the characters (except for a new one that ended up becoming a fan favorite!) were already fleshed out so it was easy to continue their stories.  With a world already built and characters familiar, the story flowed very easily.  

How difficult is it to add new characters in a sequel into already established relationships? 

There was only one new character in Dark Horizon, that ended up sticking around for more than a couple or chapters, the one-and-only smartassed alchemist Mercer Nox.  This guy was so easy to write, that it was almost effortless to integrate him into the story and the lives of everyone else.  Fun fact about Mercer: I’m a plotter.  Writing without an outline makes me super anxious.  He wasn’t in the original outline in any official capacity. This guy initially had no name, no lines, and was going to just wave at a carriage as it rolled into a village.  I decided to give him just a little something extra—a few snarky lines—and that extra turned into one of the most beloved side-characters I’ve ever created.  He filled a plot hole/big ‘ol problem I didn’t realize existed when I was planning (and would have seriously jeopardized Awakening), and was integral in the continuation of the series.  I can’t imagine my books without himand his contributions, and I love him SO MUCH that he’s getting his own backstory novel, due Spring ’22.  Keep your eyes peeled!

Is it difficult to continue with worldbuilding for a world you have already built in book 1? Do you find it easier to switch locations for the sequel and start again with worldbuilding? 

Super-easy.  Even adding new locations in subsequent books was easier because the world and all its history already existed in my head and notes.  A large portion of Dark Horizon and Awakeningtake place on different continents other than Dawn of Destiny, so it was really fun to create all those new and incredible places.  But definitely not difficult.  

Have you ever been stymied by a worldbuilding or plot detail from book 1 that is very inconvenient to deal with or write your way around in subsequent books? 

Worldbuilding?  No.  Plot details, sometimes.  There was one major issue that sprung up with Awakening surrounding a certain integral item, but my wonderful husband/critique partner/editor helped me work through it and came up with a really great fix.  He’s actually working on a project in conjunction with my series right now and lemme tell ya—it’s going to be pretty great!  

Did you notice your craft improving from book 1 to subsequent books in a series, and if so, how? 

I think so, yes.  I was more comfortable with the characters and the world by Dark Horizon, so I was able to focus more on just the “story” element I think, and a little less on trying to set my writing style and overall “feel” of the book, if that makes sense?  I knew how I wanted the characters to sound, how I wanted the world to appear, how I wanted the overall tone of the series to come across by Dark Horizon.

Do you plan out the entire series at once or one book at a time? Do you try to make sequels readable as standalones or do you design a series so that readers have to read the whole thing?

Yes to planning!  I am a total plotter. The story was pretty much set from the very beginning, a few snafus and plot issues notwithstanding.  But they were fixed with some hard work and integrated into the books.  This trilogy is meant to be read in order, if you try it as standalones, you’ll be very confused.

Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?

I wish! That’s the one part I struggled (and still do struggle) with. It’s a delicate balance between continuing to market the first book to get people started, and then subsequent books to keep readers hooked. It’s been very hard to get attention to these last two books in my series, but I keep plugging away. Last year in particular, I didn’t have a lot of time to market (or just be on social media at all) due to family/home responsibilities, but I try to shout my books to the void when I get a chance! Locally, I’ve had friends recommend to other friends and so forth, and have had a few sales from that avenue. It’s nice to have friends (in life and on different social media platforms) help with marketing, even if its something as simple as a re-tweet or a “like.” Every little bit helps. Sometimes it takes a village to market a book, I guess! Going to local gaming and fantasy conventions has helped in the past, but the current virus situation has put a damper on attending anything this year and the last year. And even then, I didn’t have a finished trilogy the last time I attended a convention, and found that people really only bought Dawn of Destiny, and not Dark Horizon. Marketing a sequel has definitely been a challenge, but one I’m up for!

Thank you for joining me today. Good luck with your books!

Amazon | goodreads


About the Author

L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom.  When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass.  She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact. 

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One thought on “March of the Sequels – L.A. Wasielewski

  1. Pingback: March of the Sequels Hub | Sue's Musings

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