I'm currently writing a novel called THE CULT OF OCASTA, which is a sequel to my earlier novel THE QUARRY, published by Evil Jester Press in 2012. This marks the first time I've ever written a direct sequel to one of my novels. Several of my tales, especially the ones that take place at Limestone college as QUARRY and OCASTA do, are "linked" in that they take place in the same fictional universe and characters from one may be referenced in another. In fact, the main character from THE QUARRY appears in a small role in my novella OCTOBER ROSES, and a few of the characters from that novella are also in THE CULT OF OCASTA.
But like I said, this is the first direct sequel I've written. To be quite honest, I had never really thought of doing a sequel for THE QUARRY. The idea was actually born from my editor of the novel, Peter Giglio. He said he thought it was just asking for a follow-up. I did start thinking that way, and a suggestion he made actually kick-started some ideas and next thing I knew, I thought I could do it.
I actually planned to do THE CULT OF OCASTA as my major project in 2013, and even started it, writing several chapters. Then I unexpectedly got a deal with JournalStone for a novel that had to be delivered by the year's end. I actually struggled with that one, and it took me pretty much the entire year.
Then in 2014 I collaborated on a short novella with a good friend of mine, and a hell of a talented author, James Newman, then did a solo zombie novella. Then I felt ready to start my next novel, and went back and looked at what I had written on THE CULT OF OCASTA and actually really liked it, and some new ideas came to me, and I was suddenly quite excited about the project again.
I wrote on the novel for the entire later half of 2014, and am in the home stretch of it now. I have no idea if it will be published. Evil Jester has said they want to read it when I'm done but there's no guarantee they'll take it, and if they don't, I'm not sure another publisher would be interested in releasing a sequel to a book that they didn't produce. And while I really want to see it published, I'm writing it just because the idea excites me and I'm enjoying the journey.
Writing a sequel to a book isn't vastly different from writing something original...and yet in some ways it is. It comes with its own set of limitations, in that I have to be sure I don't contradict anything established in the first book. Especially at the beginning of my writing of THE CULT OF OCASTA, I was constantly checking back to THE QUARRY for character names and dates and locations of certain events, so that it all tracked.
But it's also rather exhilarating to slip back into an already established world, returning to the scene of the crime as it were. The sense of familiarity is comforting, and it's great to take characters I've already established and loved into new places, watching them grow.
It's also nice to take what I did in the first book and up the ante, build on it to make something even more complex and I hope exciting. There is a particular singular joy I'm experiencing at writing this sequel.
Not to say that I'm now going to go back and write sequels to all my other novels, but I am really enjoying myself with this one. Just goes to show, sometimes you can dip twice at the same inspiration well.
And now for the obligatory self-promotion moment, THE QUARRY can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Quarry-Mark-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B0073PMCY2/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421972795&sr=1-6
If enough of you buy it, maybe it'll help me sell the sequel. ;)