The Sequel: A Long Road to Book 2
There’s talk of making a sequel to Blade Runner, a film that debuted in 1982. That’s a long time between the original and the follow up, and sometimes it felt like it would take 34 years for the sequel to The Devil Doesn’t Want Me to arrive, even though I wrote it over 4 years ago.
You see, I wrote the second book in the Lars and Shaine saga right on the heels of selling the first book. I quite liked it, called it When The Devil Comes To Call, and submitted it to the publisher. They liked it. Great, right? Well, they were “figuring out” what the imprint was going to be so they declined to publish it. Fact is, they only published one other title after The Devil Doesn’t Want Me came out. Shortly after, they folded up shop and went home, but kept on publishing the first book in the series.
So I had a book that got the best critical response of my career thus far and a sequel that everyone agreed was as good as the first and no home for it. And no other publisher would touch it while the rights to the first book were tied up.
I waited out my contract (2 years), started to process to get my rights back (another year), and finally had both books back in my hands, with plans to write a third and complete the trilogy, although that idea had faded far back into my mind as I wrote, literally, more than a dozen other books in the meantime.
By then I had placed my novel Rumrunners with the publisher 280 Steps. My relationship with them was great and they had read the first Devil book and asked about the print rights since it had only ever been an e-book before. I told them I was getting rights back and that I had already written the sequel years before and I wanted to complete the trilogy. They were interested.
After securing my rights and sending them both books, they enthusiastically rescued Lars from the scrap heap. After the requisite wait for prepping a book, earlier this year The Devil Doesn’t Want Me finally saw print for the first time 5 years after it was written. And now, this week on July 19th, When The Devil Comes To Call is bursting forth from my hard drive and out into the world.
It is so gratifying to have this sequel finally out. I’ve long been asked by new readers what is the book of mine they should start with and I usually answer The Devil Doesn’t Want Me. People like Owen Laukkanen and John Rector praised it. I think it’s a great example of what I do best.
And people did read it. But when they asked for the next book I always had bad news for them. Now, the long wait is over. I sincerely hope the readers who found Lars and liked him in 2012 when the first book was published will find him again. The story isn’t finished. Not by a long shot.
Well, one more book anyway. Speaking of, I turned in book 3 – the final book in the trilogy – at the end of June. It’s called The Devil At Your Door and it will be out in 2017.
Publishing can be glacially paced. It can be filled with delays and detours on the way to publication. I’m here to tell you not to give up on a book you believe in. It took patience and perseverance, but the book is here now and I think I put about as much work into making that happen as I did into writing the damn thing in the first place.
Along the way nobody did me a disservice, nobody screwed me over. Everyone was above board and we all wanted to get this and all the other deserving books out there. Things happen, though.
Devil #3 was my 26th book. I think Devil #1 was my 4th. So, yeah, I’ve stayed busy during all the downtime.
So here’s my advice to aspiring writers out there or anyone discouraged with their publishing journey – it takes patience. But that doesn’t mean you should be sitting around waiting. If I had rested and waited out my contract without putting other books into the world, without submitting and publishing and making new contacts and gaining new readers, then surely the idea of re-releasing the first book wouldn’t have held as much appeal. And publishing this lost sequel would never have happened, nor would my chance to revisit these characters a third time and give them the sendoff I think they deserved.
So hang in there.
And for all you Lars and Shaine fans out there – your long wait is over too. I hope you enjoy When The Devil Comes To Call. And I hope the wait wasn’t too long.