The Further Adventures of Shara Summers
(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)
My editor at MuseItUp has been quite busy. Not only have I received the second round of edits on DEATH SCENE from her, I’ve also received the first round of DEAD COOL edits.
As well as meaning I know what I’ll be doing for the Easter weekend, it makes the whole thing a bit more real. DEATH SCENE is scheduled for release next month. DEAD COOL will follow a few months later.
This is all very exciting stuff, particularly with a series that I had pretty much given up on completely at one point (and if you’re a recent visitor to this blog, do a search on the Shara Summers tag to get a better idea of what I’m talking about here). Shara now has a home with MuseItUp. And with the contract for DEAD COOL stating that they want first refusal of any sequel, it makes writing more Shara books an attractive prospect. When I thought I was writing the second book of a series that no one was going to buy, I found it a bit discouraging to carry on with it.
The homage to Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, which I started writing as the original sequel to DEATH SCENE and then gave up halfway through, I am now giving serious thought to reviving as the third book in the Shara series. This one originally suffered from lack of plotting, when I got stuck halfway through and abandoned because I made the mistake of starting to write the book without working out first how it was going to end.
The thing is, though, there was a publisher last year I sent DEAD COOL to and it got a very enthusiastic response from the editor there. So much so that she asked questions about the first book, and the third, and at one point we were talking about a three book deal.
Sadly in the end this did not lead to a deal – not because of the editor, who remained enthusiastic, but apparently she could not convince her sales people that there was a market for a contemporary British-based Amateur sleuth in the US, and the US was too big a market for them to overlook this. And that’s a whole different topic – let’s not go there.
The point of mentioning this is that when this editor asked me for a plot summary of Book 3, as part of her negotiations with the marketing people, I had to come up with one quickly. This obliged me to go back to my half-finished novel and decide how it was going to end. This plot summary is something I now do as a matter of course (see last week’s post on Plotting), but at the time I started this manuscript I didn’t, and it became one of the many casualties I abandoned halfway through before I learned the valuable lesson about how important it is to plot.
Anyway, the point of this rather roundabout tale is that because of this sequence of events I now have a complete plot outline for the next Shara book. And I’m starting to feel increasingly enthusiastic about writing this book.
There are other, less developed ideas as well for other Shara books. I want to take her back to New York (where she starts out in the opening scene of DEATH SCENE), in a story that will involve a secondary character in DEAD COOL (no spoilers!). So maybe that’s book 4.
On the first round, Shara didn’t reach a very big audience. But there are a handful of loyal fans out there who are interested in what happens to her next.
When one of them happens to be your editor, it does renew your faith in your character.