SXSW Collaboration: Writing Book Two of a Trilogy

This weeks post is going to switch gears a bit.  Remember a few weeks back when I told you that fabulous fellow YA author Shannon Barczak and I would be starting a monthly blog post together?  Well if not, that previous sentence just shed some new light on you and if so then HERE IT IS, our first post together. 

We decided, in an eerie/creepy/read one another's mind sort of way, to name our monthly article, SXSW (an abbreviation for South By Southwest).  Here's the deal, the past couple of weeks, I've been sleepless in New Mexico.  No I'm not a widower, whose ridiculously cute and poised son called into a radio show which led to the sweetest love story of all time but the sleepless part is accurate.  Teething baby, marketing the first book in a trilogy while also trying to keep up with my day job has become more and more demanding and there just isn't time for sleep.  So to avoid becoming completely zombified I've been sleeping at weird hours since I'm awake most of the night.  Last week while Shannon and I were brainstorming about the title for our monthly chronicle, at 2AM inspiration struck and I though thought of SXSW.  (I live in New Mexico and Shannon just relocated to South Carolina) the thing is when I emailed the idea to Shannon, she was like, "No freakin way I had the same exact idea late last night."  I think we are sistas from another mista!!  But keeping with the theme of being on the same page in the big book of life, Shannon and I are both preparing for the release of our second books in our YA Trilogy's.  While Shannon is planning for the release of her next book, Isle of Night, on March 27, of this year the second installment of Harlow isn't coming out until June.  However the pressures of writing a second book are still present for each of us and that's what we want to share with you all.  So sit back and prepare for some sexy deets and a little foul mouthed humor while the two of us dish about writing a trilogy.  (Shannon's responses will appear in white, while mine will remain in orange).

Shannon’s Tale: Writing Book Two

Writing book two of ‘The Skye trilogy’, ‘Isle of Night’, was a very interesting experience for me as a writer. I was nervous at first. Could I really write another book? Was I truly ready and able to commit myself so soon after writing ‘Isle of Skye’? It took me a few weeks to sit down at my computer. I had already written out my chapters outlines so I was good to go.

I started with the prologue and about halfway through, I realized it sucked, shut off the computer and stomped out of the study completely frustrated. The next day though I thought to myself, ‘Why do I have to write a prologue right now?’ So back in the room I went and from there on it was smooth sailing. That was until I hit a wall. A big, fat sex wall. Yup, you read right, sex wall.

The first book I did not want my main characters to jump into bed together. My whole goal was to bring a sense of realism to the unrealistic genre that is paranormal romance. I knew that book two was going to be a bit racier but until I was faced with writing out the first scene I hadn’t truly grasped the ramifications of my actions, which is my writing. All I could think about when I was typing away was Holy F*ck my father is going to read this. How on earth can I write these scenes?

Well after a good week went by I finally gave myself a bit of therapy and wrote out the scene. From that moment on I didn’t look back once. Am I straddling the line between romance and erotica? Maybe a little but I don’t know how to write any other way. I write the way I think and I write the way I talk. If someone has the impression that I am a foul mouthed, sex fiend, then so be it. There are worse things in life to be regarded as and I can only hope that people will see my writing as it truly is and that, my friends, is honest.

I have no fears about this book. I will arrogantly proclaim it better than the first book. I think it’s because I was more relaxed and confident. I will always love my first book but I have to say, ‘Isle of Night’, rocks. I adore this book from start to finish. When I finished ‘Isle of Skye’, I cried. When I finished ‘Isle of Night’, I had a Cheshire cat eating grin on my face for days.

Am I worried about people not liking the follow up to book one? No, not really. I’m sure there may be a few that are a little taken aback by some of the scenes but I see this book as the turning point in my writing career. This is my moment. This is when I started to believe not only in myself but as an author.

Valerie's Piece: Writing Book 2
When I began writing the second book in the Harlow Trilogy, Harlow Whittaker & The Apprentice, I had the same "This is crap moment" as Shannon.  I started it out set in the future and it was going to have several flashback scenes explaining what had occurred in the time between the first book ending and the second book beginning.  However that beginning was very flat and dry and after two weeks of working on it, I had two chapters that were utterly boring and useless.  There was no character develop and it read like a laundry list so I hit ctrl A and delete.  And left it alone for about a month.  Then one day I had the entire book outlined on the small scrap of paper.  That put me at ease, finally my characters had a story.  
So after moving, unpacking and giving birth I decided I had time to write and so I did and HW2 was completed in about two months.  Once it was written I printed it out, and read it cover to cover, editing like crazy.  I re-read the first book to make sure that there were no holes in the story, that things were spelled consistently and that above all, it was a successful follow-up to the first book.  I wanted the second book to continue the story but also be more than a supplemental read, I wanted it to be worth the wait and satisfying for the reader, who at the time was only my mother in law. 
I didn't publish HW1 right away, I waited 3 years so the only people that had read it besides myself were my husband and MIL.  So when I wrote the second book I wrote it with her in mind.  The comments she had given me after reading the first book rang in my mind.  DESCRIBE MORE, etc.  
Now that I am beginning to outline the third book I can only imagine how many reviews, and star ratings will be in my mind when I sit down to right the last book in the trilogy.  But I will cross that bridge when it gets here.  For now I am in the final editing phase of book two, and by final editing, I mean that last week I formatted it for print and I then printed it out and am maddeningly crossing things out and re-writing sentences and grammar checking. (Yay! and by that I mean BOOO!) So back to my edit hole I go.  :(
Hope you enjoyed the view of releasing a second book from two different authors from two different regions of the U.S.  Come back next month we'll be blogging about something else that tickles or fancy (Yup that last bit was total sleep deprivation speaking)