Hi, I’m JL Merrow and it’s great to be here at The Novel Approach as part of the Heat Trap blog tour. Today I’m going to be talking about the pains and pleasures of writing a trequel.
What’s a trequel? I hear you ask. Well, it’s what comes after a sequel. *frowns* Isn’t it? 😉
By the time you come to write the third book about the same main couple, getting into the characters’ voices is much like putting on an old pair of jeans that have worn soft with time and given in all the right places.
On the other hand, and in an attempt to test to destruction the tensile strength of this particular metaphor…well, those jeans really are only suitable for certain occasions, aren’t they? If you’re determined to wear the jeans, then you have to face facts: you probably can’t turn up at a Buckingham Palace garden party and expect to be let in. And there’s no point even trying to team them with your pearls.
When a writer starts a book with all new characters, the possibilities are endless. Need to introduce a close family member with a tragic secret in chapter fifteen? No problem. Just bung ’em in, and you can always go back and change chapter two where you made your hero an orphaned foundling with neither kith nor kin. But by the time you’re on book 3, your earlier choices are set—well, not in stone, but certainly in electrons, and probably in ink and paper too.
Choices you made lightly at the time of book #1 can assume much more momentous proportions later on. Particularly if you’ve boxed yourself in with something like nationality or accent—having made barmaid Marianne a West Country lass in Relief Valve, where she had hardly any lines, I found myself having to keep up her manner of speaking for Heat Trap, where she has considerably more to say. Luckily I had the lovely Josephine Myles, who lives in Somerset, to bother for dialect coaching! 😉
“Why a Finn when I know nothing about Finland? Why a vegetarian? Why all the idiotic mannerisms he’s got? These things just happen” – fictional mystery writer Ariadne Oliver in Agatha Christie’s Mrs McGinty’s Dead, channelling, one can’t help but feel, the author. 😉
Although I suspect she was just letting off steam. For all writers may complain about having painted themselves into a corner with previous books in a series, we know it’s something of a “first world” writer’s problem, and we count ourselves lucky to have found readers who are willing to come with us on a multi-book journey.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: yes, I do plan to write a fourth book about Tom and Phil. And no, I’m not calling it a fourquel. That would be silly. 😉
Giveaway question: I love books that come in a series—reading the latest book about the same characters is like dropping in to see old friends. But what do you think? Do you like to follow the same couple through the ups and downs of life, or would you rather meet new main characters each time?
And there’s a grand prize of a signed paperback copy of book #2 in my Plumber’s Mate series, the EPIC award finalist Relief Valve, plus a pair of rainbow-coloured merino wool blend wrist-warmers, hand-knitted by the author, for one lucky commenter on the tour.
I’m happy to ship internationally, and the more blog posts you comment on, the more chances you get!
Please remember to leave an email addy in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win.
I’ll be making the draws around teatime on Wednesday 1st April, GMT (no joke!)
Good luck! 😀
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.
JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit with a shocking revelation about his family. His lover, P.I. Phil Morrison, is pushing this as an ideal opportunity for Tom to try to develop his psychic talent for finding things. Tom would prefer to avoid the subject altogether, but just as he decides to bite the bullet, worse problems come crawling out of the woodwork.
Marianne, a young barmaid at the Devil’s Dyke pub, has an ex who won’t accept things are over between them. Grant Carey is ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets between him and Marianne, including an old friend of Tom and Phil. Their eagerness to step in and help only makes them targets of Grant’s wrath themselves.
With Tom’s uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the revelation of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, suddenly Tom’s not sure whom he can trust.
The body in the Dyke’s cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.
Warning: Contains British slang, a very un-British heat wave, and a plumber with a psychic gift who may not be as British as he thinks he is.