Welcome to March of the Sequels, Kelly!
First of all tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel.
I have several series, but I’ll focus on the Chronicles of Lorrek. It is focused on Prince Lorrek of Cuskelom, a powerful mage who is constantly trying to protect those he loves while at the same time constantly getting blamed for everything bad that ever happens while in the middle of a lot of war between kingdoms. It is a nine-book series.
Do you find that most of your readers continue to read the whole series? Why do you think that is?
Most of my readers do continue through with the series. That may be partly because Book 1 somewhat ends with a stunning twist, which causes readers to want to read on to find out how the story continues to unfold. It is a nine-book series, and throughout the series many questions are presented, but the answers to those questions are scattered throughout the series. My readers like to try and guess the answers to see if they are right. Oftentimes, they’re thrown for a loop and quite enjoy the ride!
Is it easier to further develop characters you’ve already written in book one?
Absolutely! It’s a lot of fun to be able to delve more into their personalities and explore what they are capable of.
How difficult is it to add new characters in a sequel into already established relationships?
For me, it’s not very difficult. I always try to make sure each of my characters have a good reason for being there, so introducing new ones is fairly easy.
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? It’s not difficult at all! Actually, I find it easy to add to the world and go into more depth with sequels, that way it doesn’t overwhelm the first book with info dumps or anything like that. My universe is very expansive, so there is a lot to explore and learn!
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?
Not really. If I see something that’s going to be inconvenient in a book (especially the first book) during revisions, I usually just remove it from the book because I don’t want a future headache.
Did you notice your craft Improving from book 1 to subsequent books in a series, and if so, how?
Of course! I believe that writing improves with each book that is written. I like to challenge myself, “Can I write a villain that no one suspects?” or “Can I write a story that takes place completely in the dark?” Those are things I’ve written in the past, not necessarily the Chronicles of Lorrek, but they certainly helped with my writing abilities as I progressed as a writer.
Do you plan out the entire series at once or one book at a time?
With the Chronicles of Lorrek, I didn’t…until I got to Book 3. And then I realized how the rest of the series was going to play out and how many books there would be and so forth. Now, I usually plan out the entire series, figure out how many books there are, and so forth.
Do you try to make sequels readable as standalones or do you design a series so that readers have to read the whole thing?
My books are best read as a series, not standalones.
Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?
Honestly, I wait until I have at least three books out in a series, and then I begin hitting the marketing hard. I’ll set the first book as free, the second book as $0.99, and the third book at full price, and I will market the first book through book promotional sites, newsletters, and so forth. Stagger it and push it. This only works for a while, but then I return my books back to full price. It is also really worth it after three books are out at least. It’s hard to do with just one book or two.
Thank you for taking part in March of the Sequels. Good luck with your books!
About the Author
Known as The Muse within her writing circle, Kelly Blanchard first became serious about writing at age twelve and worked hard to learn and fully comprehend the numerous elements of writing. She tutored and assisted teaching in college while she studied for her degree in English. After graduation she continued tutoring children and even taught several classes. Now she’s established an online community to assist fellow writers in understanding their craft.
Outside of writing, Kelly enjoys baking her world famous chocolate chip cookies, and she takes great pleasure in the company of her two cats and her Doberman Pinscher. From a family of five sisters and four brothers, she uses her experience with the family dynamic in her writing. She also practices Martial Arts, fencing, and archery—all important knowledge to have in order to write more accurately.
Writing and stories are important to Kelly. They are a reflection of reality, and she tries to capture that reflection in a way that sparks the imagination even if it means bending a few rules and blending several genres.