Why a sequel? Why, oh why as sequel? I was not intending to write one. In fact, I was only trying to scratch an old fanfic itch when the story popped into my head. And the book was a long time in the making as I was out of practice writing novels.
That said, the sequel was born out of one of my favorite aspects of the writing process. There is a moment during while with and writing characters for a long time that they develop their own voices and personalities and start living their lives in front of me. I'm no longer creating actions for them to take, I reporting on what they are doing. When I'm really lucky, it happens during the outline and synopsis process. Since I tend to live with my characters a long time before I actually start writing, it happens sooner than later. Often it makes for wonderful, free flowing prose. Sometimes, it can be a bother when the characters fight the way I originally planned on writing the book. It's annoying because they must win. When they fight me, it's because I'm heading in a direction that ultimately won't work for the novel.
In The Gift of Surrender, I wrote Nikulainen's kin as a strong and close knit family. There was a lot of laughter and warmth between the brothers despite their competitive natures. Their father, King Magnus loved them despite his warped way of showing it. It was the way those brothers were written that demanded that I find someway to heal the rift between Armas and his family that happened in the novel. Could I really portray them as such a loving family and have them be so unforgiving toward their kin? Ultimately, I couldn't ignore their deep, sexy voices. Armas had to work his way toward his family's forgiveness and find true love (of course).
The Price of Surrender presented many challenges because I felt it had to stand alone. I couldn't be sure if anyone reading it would have read the first book. At the time I began the new book, I was reading a hot debate on one of the romance lists about whether or not readers read prologues in books. I was almost disheartened by how many on the lists skipped prologues and started with chapter one. I had been planning on summarizing the first book in a prologue. Thus, I had to weave more of the exposition of the first book throughout the sequel. That turned out to be fun because I really had to show Armas' early debauchery so the reader would know how far he came in courting Princess Laurila. Thus, aside from b&d, I also have some scenes with multiple partners and references to buggery (all tastefully done, of course).
What is terribly annoying now is that I am barely finished the sequel when another character is demanding its own novel. And this one can't even speak yet! Baby Kirsi, the youngest of Nikulainen and Sarianna's children is such a charming and beguiling baby, I began to wonder what her life would be like when she came of age. Could her parents and protective brother and uncles keep her from falling for the wrong mate? Would she be called upon to save her kingdom's land from darkness as her mother had? I will wait a while before I answer those questions, but I do know at some point, I'll be compelled to answer them.
If these blogs piqued your interest, you can purchase The Gift of Surrender at:
http://sybpress.com/titles.htm#Surrender. The Price of Surrender will be available next month.