Preparing For a Sequel by Sherryle K. JacksonAvailable Now: Soon After by Sherryle K. Jackson
Call it ironic or just dumb luck that Soon After which is the sequel to my debut novel, Soon and Very Soon, releases the same month as Terry McMillan’s sequel to her hugely successful book-slash-movie, Waiting to Exhale. To say it’s long awaited is an understatement.
Getting to Happy comes after a fifteen year departure from the four female characters, Savannah, Gloria, Bernadine, and Robin. And, I thought two years was pushing it with my sequel. My Executive Editor, Joylynn Jossel, advised that I not put anymore time or another book between my debut novel, Soon and Very Soon, and its sequel. Because I am a lesser known author and because my characters, Willie and Vanessa Green haven’t graced the big screen, she worried that too much time would make my audience lose connection with the newlywed couple that decides to combine their churches.
In either instance I wonder how an author gets back into that same mind-space where those same characters are speaking, and in some cases, haunting you again. In my own pre-release promotions, I realized the readers have some preparing to do as well. When I tell friends and fans that the sequel is coming out in the early fall they tell me that they have to pick up the first installment that came out in 2007 and read it again to refresh their memory.
I recently found my copy of Waiting to Exhale in the basement of my mother’s house. It’s been that long. I loaned it to her to read and it never quite made it to my Terry McMillan shelf along with Mama, Disappearing Acts, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and most recently, The Interruption of Everything. With thousands of books that came out this year alone, I’m not sure I have time to devote to reading the beloved book again from cover to cover. Many questions crowd my mind as I prepare to pre-order Terry’s book with my own on an online retailer.
Consider these things:
When and where does the second story pick up from the first book? I’m talking setting here. My title sort of gives that away. Not to let the cat out of the bag, but the cover sort of eludes to a fire that happens at the end of Soon and Very Soon. The story literally picks up, Soon After. In Getting to Happy the same amount of time has passed for the characters as the time it took the author to revisit them, 15 years. The diverse and dedicated friends find themselves in the throws of mid-life. Sometimes it’s fun to go to the first book and read at least the last couple of chapters to predict where the plot may go in a sequel.
Is this a stand alone sequel? Does the book include sufficient background information from the first book, so that the reader can understand the plot without gaping holes of understanding? Some authors do this better than others. I’ve read some sequels that are 60-75 percent recaps. The preferred practice is to drop background information like breadcrumbs. My back cover summary gives no mention that Soon After is in fact a sequel. The rationale is that the publisher doesn’t want a reader to put back the current title because they haven’t read the first installment in an all or nothing deal at the bookstore.
Does the author plan this to be a part of a series? This is helpful for a reader to know if all the loose ends will be tied up for their favorite characters or do they have nine lives as in many adventure dramas and mysteries. I don’t know about Terry, but I never wanted to write a sequel, let alone, a mystery of sorts. I am a Christian Fiction writer with heaven, not the hell of crime scenes and jail in my view. But, I went there. Who knows, there may be a third installment. As the old church mothers put it, ‘Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.’
To make the distinction, Soon and Very Soon is being re-released in mass market paperback August 1, 2010. Soon After is released September 1, 2010 online and in bookstores nationwide. Terry McMillan’s Getting to Happy comes out September 7, 2010. Please go out and purchase both books to support the authors and the dream!
Meet author Sherryle K. Jackson
Multi-published author, teacher, wife and mother, Sherryle continues in her pursuit to be a fresh voice in Christian Fiction. Her triumphant debut novel, Soon and Very Soon (2007) was followed up by her sophomore release, The Manual (2009).
Sherryle is currently working on her fourth novel for Urban Christian (Urban/Kensingon) titled Taylor-Made. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.
Soon After by Sherryle K. Jackson picks up right after Jackson’s 2007 release, Soon and Very Soon. Pastors Willie and Vanessa Green are no more than six months into business as usual, in the combined Mt. Pleasant Harvest Baptist church after marrying and combining congregations, when they receive word that Willie’s former church has been burned down by an arsonist’s match. With more than one person with interest in the deed to the property and still more with an emtional investment in the church itself, it’s up to Alexis Montgomery a local reporter and Chief Herbert Rich to solve the the crime.
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