The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Monday, March 30, 2009

What about Book Two?

3-30-09: “What about Book Two?”

Now that the ARCs for Hourglass Door are out in the world and people are reading them, the most frequently asked question I get is, “What about book two?” On the one hand, it’s kind of a surreal question. I mean, technically book one isn’t even in stores yet, so what am I doing worrying about book two? But I am worrying about it. Writing book two has been a completely different experience from writing book one. Yes, there are similarities—start with a noun, follow with a verb, toss in some adjectives and adverbs; remember to punctuate—but I’ve been surprised at the differences I’ve discovered in the process. This time I know more about my characters and what they’ll do and say, but because I know them better, I’m less inclined to put them in danger. What if they get hurt?

I keep thinking of a quote I read by Tad Williams (one of my favorite authors, by the way). He said that he hates writing the middle book of a series because it has to build on what came before it, set everything up for what will come next, and yet still be a complete book all on its own. That’s a lot to ask from a book.

What’s helping me the most as I work on book two is actually something from my childhood. As a kid, I would get so engrossed in a story that I wouldn’t dare stop reading during a dramatic moment because I didn’t want the characters to get stuck in a bad spot. How would they escape if I didn’t read the next part of the story? By the same token, sometimes I would slow down and savor the good moments; setting the book down gave the characters a chance to rest and breathe after so many adventures. (Perhaps that’s why I love Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books—characters play their parts while you’re reading, but once the book is closed, they are free to do what they want.) 

So I’m trying to work on book two more often—if only to get Abby and Dante out of the bad spots and into the good parts. I’m the writer, it’s my responsibility to look after them.
And so as I’m working on plotting and writing book two, I’m trying to build on book one and look ahead to book three and still make book two worth reading. I’m trying to get my characters through the bad spots so they can relax and enjoy the story too. Wish me luck!


  1. So, you not only need to work on Book 2, but you need to come up with a really cool title for the triology. The Hourglass triology has a nice ring to it--but it needs a good punch!

  2. Trilogy? Why stop at trilogy? Eddings gave us the pentalogy, Rowlings held out for a heptalogy, and I'm sure there are a few good decologies out there and just can't think of them.

    Just keep writing! The first one was great and now we need more. :)