Today we have the lovely Tracey Sinclair who wrote a great guest post about the hardships and best parts of writing a second book in a series. She is also letting me giveaway her latest urban fantasy book Wolf Night in the giveaway below.
Title: Wolf Night
Series: Cassandra Bick Chronicles #2
Author: Tracey Sinclair
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon
SummaryAfter narrowly averting a supernatural war in London, Cassandra Bick just wants life to get back to normal. Or as normal as life can be when you run a dating agency for vampires, your best friend is a witch and the oldest, strongest and sexiest vampire in town is taking a very personal interest in your business. But when a vicious new supernatural enemy threatens her friends, Cass finds herself once again fighting for the fate of her city – and having to face some demons of her own.
Snarky, sexy and fast paced, Wolf Night will leave you breathless.
Wolf Night is Book 2 in the Dark Dates series, the Chronicles of Cassandra Bick.
by Tracey Sincliar
The urge to write urban fantasy took me by surprise. While it has long been a genre I was keen on, I didn’t feel like I had anything to say about it, and besides, I was writing ‘serious’ fiction (cue deep, authoritative voice. I was a serious writer, dammit! So when I wrote a short story called Dark Dates and suddenly thought, ‘hang on, that was fun’, it didn’t take much to stir me on to write the whole book. And I discovered that while writing genre fiction is far, far more fun than writing ‘serious’ fiction, it’s just as hard, if not harder – you can get away with an awful lot under the guise of being ‘literary’ but in genre fiction you need a solid story and characters that people like and want to come back to. So how much easier, or harder, was it coming back to that world the second time to write a sequel? And what did I learn?
Make your universe consistent and coherent – when I was thinking about the ‘big bads’ for Wolf Night, one of the main issues wasn’t just who or, given that this is urban fantasy, what – they would be, but also, how do they fit into the universe I spent so much time creating? One of the key points of Dark Dates was that it was set in a contemporary London whose supernatural community had been at peace for decades – how to introduce a new threat that didn’t make people feel like it was all a bit out of the blue or coincidental was an important first step (you’ll have to read the book to find out how I managed this, obviously…). Readers need to believe in your universe – if you rewrite the rules for the sake of the plot, you undermine their faith in the text. The writers I admire are people like Jim Butcher, Terry Pratchett and Kelley Armstrong, who manage to grow and develop the world they created without it ever feeling like they’re simply making it up to suit whatever story they are telling.
Learn more about your characters (but don’t rewrite their history) – I introduced a bunch of core characters in Dark Dates; the heroine (and narrator) Cassandra, her friends Katie and Medea and her love interests Cain and Laclos. In Wolf Night, you learn more about almost all of their pasts, which plays a major part in the story. Balancing those revelations while making sure I stayed true to the characters as written was important – as a reader, I find nothing more frustrating than getting attached to someone only for them to start acting completely out of character. They can be unpredictable – because people can surprise you – but it needs to be believable.
Remember, stuff happened – this ties into the above point. I hate series of books (or TV shows, for that matter) that have a reset button, where no one ever actually refers to or is affected by what has gone before. Major character killed off? Let’s never mention them again! Of course I didn’t want to spend the whole book recapping the last novel, but I felt I wanted to show that all of my characters had felt the impact of what were some pretty life rattling events in Book 1. One of the main themes of Wolf Night, in fact, is that everyone is a little ‘off their game’ as a result and making mistakes they wouldn’t normally make – and, of course, those mistakes end up having serious consequences…
Not everyone gets to come back – one of the things about writing a book is once it’s out there you will be surprised by how people react to different characters. Someone you’re fond of, they will hate, someone you haven’t given much thought to will capture the imagination. I was really shocked by how many people told me they loved Cain’s estranged wife and wanted to see her in the new book, but, alas, there was simply no place for her in this story. I’m really hoping to see her again in Book 3…
But it’s always worth adding fresh blood – yes, pun intended, because two of the new characters in this book were young vampires who offer a very different perspective to that of Laclos (who is, after all, at least a thousand years old), a different attitude to vampirism that takes some of the other characters off guard.
Have fun with it! It was a joy to return to characters I loved so much the first time around – how could I not like spending more time with them? Now I just hope everyone else feels the same…
Author BioTracey Sinclair works as freelance copywriter, editor and legal directories consultant. A diverse and slightly wandering career has included writing factsheets for small businesses, creating web content for law firms, subtitling film and TV and editing one of the UK’s largest legal directories. A keen blogger, she regularly writes for online theatre site Exeunt and science fiction site Unleash the Fanboy and her blog Body of a Geek Goddess was shortlisted in the Cosmopolitan Blogger Awards 2011. Her work has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies and her short play Bystanders was premiered in 2011 as part of the CP Players New Writing Season at Baron’s Court Theatre, London. She has published two small press books (Doll and No Love is This, both Kennedy & Boyd) before publishing the Dark Dates series. Blog | Book Website | Twitter
Enter below for a chance to win a MOBI ecopy of Wolf Night by Tracey Sinclair. Open Internationally. Details on the rafflecopter.