Sequels: the fear and the thrill…


‘Waiting for Callback, the first in a series…’ – that’s what it said in our publicity material. Exciting? Yes. Terrifying? Yes! Not least because when we first read those words we hadn’t even finished our first draft of the second book. At that point it just looked optimistic. How could we be sure we could even write a second book? We’d hardly dared to believe we could write one. And it couldn’t just be any story it had to be a story that followed on in the same world. In an instant we switched from debut authors with all the time and creative freedom in the world to writers on a deadline to deliver a second book in the same voice. It was too scary to think about so we stopped thinking about it and started writing (an approach that’s fast becoming our life advice). It was when we started writing that we remembered the good, non-scary side of sequel writing – you already have your characters and you know them inside out. In fact you know them so well you could say what they have for breakfast every single day (don’t worry we held back from putting all that on the page). But we let them start talking and doing stuff and we gossiped about it together and we wrote it down and somehow we had a draft. Then we were back to the terrifying stuff – submitting it to our editor the brilliant Jane Griffiths. With book one we took months sweating over the submission, polishing the sentences, getting heaps of help including safe time in the Golden Egg Academy nest and from our fab agent, Hannah Sheppard – this time we finished writing at about teatime and pressed send before the cake was finished. Hannah had read some of it and given us the thumbs up, we trusted her and we knew that Jane would make it better in editing. Anyway it was a deadline and I’m a deadline person, it had to go. In fact we were one day ahead of our deadline – we’d have been prouder of that if it hadn’t been a leap year. Then the wait to hear, the long weeks when the doubts crept in and the chances of Jane saying ‘what is this hufflepuff of a document you have sent me? Have you lost leave of your senses? Where have all your funny characters gone? Go away at once’ seemed to go up and up. I lost sleep (Honor would have lost sleep if she hadn’t been losing sleep over her looming A levels). But this week we got our edit notes and Jane hasn’t asked us to go away. Of course we’ve got editing work to do, improving the structure, tightening, smoothing, basically using her editorial magic to make our book better but we’re in good shape and we’re relieved about that. None of this means that we won’t be quaking wrecks just before book 2 publishes (people have strong opinions about sequels, I’ve never really forgiven Louisa May Alcott and it’s probably just as well that Hon didn’t get cast in Kick Ass 2) but for now, right now, today, we’re just going to feel proud of getting that draft in, maybe prouder than we did of submitting book one. This is our new baby. Naming ceremony next.

Perdita Cargill

wfc image 2 Book ONE!!




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