By guest blogger Mary Alford
Have you ever reached the end of a great book and thought, “No! That can’t be it. I’m not ready for it to end...”
I think most of us have had that type of reaction to a book that drew us in from page one and held us captive until the end. I know I certainly have on many occasions.
This is the very reason the sequel is so appealing to us. The story we fell in love with goes on, just in a different way. We can still catch up with our favorite characters, but in addition, we’re introduced to a whole new story that will hopefully make us fall in love all over again.
Still, not every book is destined to be a sequel.
So what makes a book sequel worthy? Well, at the core of every sequel you have great characters:
For this blog post, I enlisted the help of some lovely ladies from my street team. I wanted their expert opinion on what makes a good sequel for them. As always, they were more than willing to offer their thoughts.
Jaquelyn S. - “My favorite type of sequel is when a secondary character from one book, gets their own book. I love when you get to know a family more through each book, and get to hear how the previous main characters from another book are doing.”
Susan M. - “The fun of series or sequels is you get to see and read about the characters you fell in love with in the first book. Kind of like keeping up with family and seeing how their lives are coming along.”
Cheryl B. – “I love getting to read more about characters that played a role in a previous book. Children and grandchildren that came along. Someone that helped others but didn't get noticed.”
Obviously, a key ingredient in creating any great sequel is having an array of interesting secondary characters to complement the hero and heroine and make the reader want to know what happens to them as well.
But there has to be more to a good sequel than its characters. You need a fresh storyline that’s different from the first book and one that will set it apart and make the reader want to read it.
Katrina E. - “I have read series where the characters are part of a community, work related and family. I can't really say what exactly draws me, but I do enjoy finding out where characters' lives have taken them since their book. I think I'm searching for the answer to if it was really a HEA. While I have enjoyed all types of series I think my favorite is the ones that revolve around a community. I think the author has more leeway with this.”
So, we have a great set of characters and a storyline that is intriguing. What’s next?
Location, location, location.
This past year, I wrote a series of contemporary inspirational romances that take place in a fictional town called Second Chance, Montana. It’s a small town with warm and welcoming characters that make you want to come in and stay for a while. The town is true to its name, offering everyone who visits a second chance. I so much enjoyed writing these books because they took place in the same location. I got to come home to Second Chance with each new book I wrote.
Ann E. – “I enjoy sequels especially when it picks up an existing character and tells more of their story.”
So, we have great characters, and intriguing storyline and the perfect location. Now comes the end?
Surprise! – The Perfect Ending.
I think what makes for a great sequel is that the ending both surprises and satisfies us. The story ends, but there’s still room for more.
I asked the ladies from my street team to weigh in on some of their favorite sequels. Here’s what they had to say.
Mary L. – “I enjoy Janie Crouch's series, B.J. Daniels series, Julie Miller's series. These are just a few.”
Renee S. – “Lori Wick English Garden series, Rachel Dylan's new series, Kimberly Rae Jordan's Blackthorpe Security series which ties into the McKinley and Callaghan and McFadden series. That is just a few!”
Angel M. – “I love sequels! The Baxter series from Karen Kingsbury and there are several more I just can't think of them right now.”
Jaquelyn S. - “My favorite series is The Christiansen series by Susan May Warren.”
Melissa H. - “I enjoy sequels and standalone novels. The Mitford Series by Jan Karon is a good series.”
Suzanne C. – “I think my favorite series was by Nancy Rue. It was about a lady who bought a Harley, and started listening to God's direction and doing his will.”
Susan M. - “My favorite series are the ones by Ronie Kendig - Discarded Heroes, Quiet Professionals, A Breed Apart.”
So, what about you? What are some of your favorite sequels and why did they make you love them so much? I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of Valentine Matchmaker, a collection of nine romantic novellas. My book, Marry Me set in Second Chance, Montana, is part of this collection as well.
A Little About Me.
I grew up in a small Texas town famous for, well not much of anything really. Being the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than my brothers and sister, I had plenty of time to entertain myself. Making up stories seemed to come natural to me. As a pre-teen, I discovered Christian romance novels and knew instinctively that was what I wanted to do with my over-active imagination. I wrote my first novel as a teen, (it’s tucked away somewhere never to see the light of day), but never really pursued my writing career seriously until 2012 when I entered the Love Inspired Speed Dating contest and sold my first Love Inspired Suspense, Forgotten Past.
You can connect with me on my website: http://www.maryalford.net or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mary.alford.1272
A Little About Valentine Matchmaker:
This delightful collection of historical and contemporary romances contains couples not looking for romance, but with the help of a loved one find love on Valentine's Day. Each story is titled from an actual candy heart and plays a major role in the romance. Sit down, relax, and experience love by these authors. Mary Alford, Brandi Boddie, Jennifer Collins Johnson, Gail Gaymer Martin, Debra E. Marvin, Martha Rogers, Sherri Stewart, Niki Turner, and Jennifer Vander Klipp.
Thank you all so much for letting me stop by today. I’ve had a blast as always.
All the best…