To sequel or not to sequel, that is the question.
But a story, a really good story that draws a reader in, gives that reader good or bad chills, should provide a beginning, a middle, and an ending. And yet, as in Hollywood, there are many part twos and part threes and on and on. Are these sequels really, truly necessary?
As an author who has written a number of sequels, I must say: YES! If the characters drive the story.
And that is the difference between bad Hollywood sequels (horror movies immediately come to mind) and character driven movies and books. Without characters that show diversity, emotion, complexity, and honest human characteristics (if they are, indeed, human that is), then a string of novels featuring these characters will soon languish and die.
Book series such as Harry Potter, the expanded Star Wars universe, or even, yes, I'm going to say it, Twilight, contain characters that people respond to and care about. Murder mysteries featuring gritty detectives such as Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, or John Sandford's Lucas Davenport, or, to go way back, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, just to name a few. It's the characters we come back for, to see how they handle these latest challenges, how they solve the crime and live to face, hopefully, another in a new book coming soon.
And so, to wrap up, I say bring on the next adventure, as long as your characters evolve with the story. Let them learn something along the way, expose secrets long held close to their hearts, tweak their pet peeves and put them in uncomfortable surroundings. Let the characters whisper to you the story they want to tell.
I did this with my characters Mark Beecher and FBI agent Aaron Pearce, first introduced in Holed Up. That novella was published by Loose Id in 2009, and I thought that would be the last I would hear from Mark and Aaron. Well, late last year Mark started whispering off in the corner of my mind, telling me that things had progressed with Aaron, but weren't really as hunky dory as people might think. As a matter of fact, they were about to get into a whole heap of trouble. I wrote their next story, Shacked Up, the end of last year and beginning of this year. I think it's a good story that takes their relationship to a new level, and I hope to write a few more stories featuring these two.
Shacked Up is available from Loose Id's site where you can download a variety of e-book formats. Later this year or early next year, there are plans to publish both books in one print edition. I'll keep you posted on that front.
Scroll down to read and excerpt and find the buy link. I hope you enjoy Mark and Aaron's newest adventure, and keep those complicated characters coming!
Hank Edwards has been called "silly" and "irreverent" and "a dirty old man," and all of these descriptions are true. He was born and still lives in a northwest suburb of Detroit, MI, and has been fortunate enough to see a number of novels published, including the Charlie Heggensford series of adventures available from Lethe Press: Fluffers, Inc., Carnal Cruise, and Vancouver Nights. Other books are available from Loose Id, LLC, including the suspense novella Holed Up and its sequel Shacked Up, the medieval time-travel romance Destiny's Bastard, and the contemporary romantic comedy Plus Ones, which is available in both e-book and paperback format.
He is also a member of the Story Orgy group (www.facebook.com/SOGroup), a clan of writers who post prompt-inspired stories every Monday morning on their blogs. They have released a trio of anthologies, including And the Prompt Is... Volume One, And the Prompt Is... Holiday Edition, and Word Play, all of which are available for purchase through Amazon.
Find out more by visiting his website at www.hankedwardsbooks.com.
Shacked Up Buy Link:
Shacked Up Book Blurb:
When Mark Beecher moves in with Special Agent Aaron Pearce while he's recovering from his injuries, Pearce gets more than a live-in boyfriend. First, they're tailed by a mysterious driver, then missing data discs bring danger right to their door.
Shacked Up Excerpt:
Mark woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs. He sighed and rolled over in bed, pressing his hard-on into the mattress and his face into Pearce’s pillow. The sheets on Pearce’s side of the bed were still a little warm against his bare skin, and he breathed in the man’s scent from the pillowcase. It was the same scent he had first noticed back in January, when Pearce had pushed him into a freight elevator in the FBI’s Detroit office. At that moment, Mark had simultaneously hated and wanted Pearce, and now, just a few months later, here he was, living with the man.
Life was strange.
Mark rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. Pearce’s ceiling. Pearce’s bed. Pearce’s apartment. Mark’s belongings still sat in boxes stacked in the spare room. Some weekend soon, when Mark wasn’t working a party, he planned to sort through his things. Maybe grab some CDs for his car. If he was lucky, maybe Pearce would invite him to unpack some stuff, add a few items to the apartment. Hell, Pearce might even suggest Mark add his CDs to the collection in the living room. Not mix them together—nothing that crazy—but maybe get a shelf or two of his own.
He had found it was tricky to know where he could place things in the apartment. Pearce was a territorial animal; Mark had seen that when he had added his toiletries to the bathroom. Pearce had come along after him and rearranged things in the medicine cabinet and on the countertop. The man seemed to have his apartment ordered just as he liked, and Mark couldn’t help feeling like an intruder. If only Pearce would help him figure out where he could put some things, maybe clear off more than one or two shelves for him. But each time Mark asked, Pearce would make noncommittal sounds of agreement and never follow through.
Mark’s cock pulsed, and before he could reach down to take hold of himself, the bedroom door eased open. Mark raised his head and squinted in that direction, smiling at the blurry vision of Pearce peering in at him around the door.
“Morning, sleepyhead,” Pearce said and stepped into the room. “Well, I see not all of you is a sleepyhead.”
Mark chuckled and stretched, arching his back and pushing his hard-on up against the thin sheet. He could feel the damp spot of precum soaking into the material. After the stretch, he turned his head to smile up at Pearce, who had moved around to stand over him on his side of the bed. Pearce wore a pair of thin cotton sleep pants, the front now tented out with his interest. Mark looked up along Pearce’s bare torso and ran his hand through the dark, trimmed hair that covered Pearce’s flat belly. “Hi, there.”
“Need some help with that?” Pearce asked, his gaze locked on the bulge of Mark’s erection beneath the sheet.
“You know, I could use some help with this.” Mark pulled the sheet away. “It’s so big and awkward, it’s too much for me to handle all on my own.”
Pearce knelt beside the bed and, grinning, leaned in to give Mark a soft kiss on the lips. After backing off a few inches, Pearce smiled at him, then moved down to suck Mark’s nipple, making Mark pull in a quick breath through his teeth. Pearce swirled his tongue around the hardened nub, then drifted lower and parted the dark blond hair on Mark’s chest and belly with his tongue. The whiskers along Pearce’s jaw brushed against Mark’s cock, and he groaned at the sensation. A moment later, the hot width of Pearce’s tongue painted the shaft with saliva from the tip to the root and back again. When the sudden, wet heat of Pearce’s mouth closed around his cock, Mark gasped and raised his arms over his head to clutch the rails of the headboard.
“Oh God,” Mark groaned. “Now this is a wake-up call.”