Sequel Schmequal – What Should I Do With My Characters?

Finishing one novel is fine, but how easy (or difficult) is it to start the next one? And more to the point, should the novel stick to the same formula? Having just finished the second book in my ‘Maps of Time’ series, I’m now back to working on the second one in the ‘Christie McKinnon Adventures’. While I’m well into the story, I’m not completely sure where my characters are headed.In Line for Murder 150x

The first in the series (The Hounds of Hellerby Hall) introduced a host of strange and likeable characters and established my heroine’s penchant for solving crimes, with the help of her pal Donal, her writer friend Hugo Skene and the affable Inspector Robertson. The second book ‘The House That Wasn’t There’ is about a child-snatcher who prays on vulnerable parents. Christie (naturally) comes to the rescue.

However, thinking about how to move the series forward, I also wrote a wee story about the Inspector in what I fondly imagined was something akin to the style of Arthur Conan Doyle. In Line for Murder is a short story (free to download, by the way) about an apparent murder where there doesn’t appear to be a body. Anyway, it got me thinking that perhaps some (or maybe all) of my characters could potentially have their individual stories (a bit like boy bands whose members also have solo careers).

Although I’m not seriously considering knocking out another five or six novels (one for each band member), I am wondering about my audience. The difficulty is that Christie and Donal are children, whereas several of the other characters are adults. If the grown-ups had their own novels (as it were), the books can’t really be aimed at children, since children’s books really do need to have a child as the main character. So Inspector Robertson is off solving his own (grown-up) crimes, and there’s my dilemma.

Of course, I realise I’m probably making too much of it and I should just let the Inspector do whatever he feels like doing and see what happens. In a perfect world, I’d be able to finish off this post with an explanation of how I’ll go about that. But as we all know, nothing is perfect, so I’ll just leave it out there for a while and you never know, like all good ideas, it might just get up and walk itself into another story.

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