As part of the PERCEPTION blog tour, author Kim Harrington is here to blog about the challenges of writing a sequel. Hope you enjoy! B.
I’ll be honest. I had a blast writing PERCEPTION. Sure, sequels can be intimidating. But I loved these characters and the setting so much, I couldn’t wait to return to Clare’s world.
When writing a sequel there are small, more mechanical things you have to worry about. You have to insert enough backstory to ground the reader but not too much. Just in case someone reads book two first, you want to try your best not to spoil book one. But there are also big picture concepts to keep in mind. These are the three that guided me through the creation of PERCEPTION:
A first book sets expectations. A sequel must surpass them. The mystery has to be creepier. The romance hotter. The conflict more heart-wrenching. All the stakes need to be higher. I worked hard to make this happen and hope I succeeded.
The characters must show some growth since the first book. Not necessarily in a positive direction, but you don’t get embroiled in a dangerous mystery, almost get killed, and stay the same person. So I knew the characters had to change a bit, based on their personalities. In PERCEPTION, Starla is understandably more over-protective of her children. Clare has had an awakening of sorts and is questioning her path in life. And Perry? Well, I’ll let you find that out. The fact of the matter is that people don’t all react the same way to a similar traumatic experience and neither should characters. There have to be consequences. You don’t go through events like the ending of CLARITY without them.
While writing PERCEPTION, I didn’t know if this would be the last book in the series or not. So I had to craft it in a way that would give fans a satisfying ending. This included Clare’s romantic life. I love when people email me after reading CLARITY and say, “I just can’t choose which guy!” That’s exactly what I want. Because at that point in time Clare couldn’t choose. But, in PERCEPTION, I tried to lay a path that I hope readers can follow with Clare as she comes to her decision.
Writing a sequel was a challenge and a whole lot of fun. I truly hope you enjoy reading it!