why writing a sequel scares me

When I finished writing Blogger Girl, I was sad to say goodbye to Kim, Nicholas, Bridget and the rest of the cast of characters (even condescending Hannah and evil Daneen), but I moved on to writing How Do You Know? on the assumption that Blogger Girl, like Just Friends with Benefits and A State of Jane before it, would be a stand-alone novel.

To date, Blogger Girl has not been my best-selling novel, but it has been a fan favorite. Soon after the book was released, fans made it very clear they wanted more. Since I had developed the character of Kim in Blogger Girl leaving her significant room for growth, both from a romantic and professional standpoint, I decided to grant readers their wish. I am proud to announce that the first draft of the follow up, Novel Girl, is almost complete and barring any extraordinary circumstances, I should be able to release it before the apple next drops in Times Square. (It’s worth noting that while the book takes off where the first one left off, I’m writing it in such a way that it can stand on its own too.)

It has been a blast reacquainting myself with the characters and finding new ways to torture…I am challenge… them and I’m excited to share Novel Girl with the people who loved Blogger Girl and hopefully a whole new audience of readers too. On the flip side, I’m terrified. Granted, with each of my books, I feared readers wouldn’t like it or would compare it unfavorably to my other books, but writing a sequel comes with the added pressure of meeting and, hopefully, exceeding the expectations of readers who loved the first installment. If a sequel fails, readers often wish it had never been written at all, especially if the first installment had a happily-ever-after. Sometimes it’s better to leave the characters in that permanent state of bliss than reintroduce them to the world and not do them justice.

Whenever I read a glowing review of Blogger Girl that calls out a favorite plot twist or aspect of the book, it is with a mix of delight and dread as the plot twists are naturally different in Novel Girl. I couldn’t write the same book twice, obviously, so I have taken the characters in different directions and thrown distinctive bumps in their journeys. I believe readers will have as much fun reading the second book as they did the first, but part of me is afraid of disappointing them. I am certainly putting as much care and thought into Novel Girl as I did with Blogger Girl as I am determined to do it justice and then some. I hope readers will be happy I wrote it and not wish I left well enough alone. My money is on the former, but I’ve never been much of a betting woman!

An avid reader myself, I’ve also been both pleased and underwhelmed by sequels of my favorite books. What about you? What are some of your favorite/least favorite sequels?