Writing is a funny thing.
Sometimes a story demands to be written, and when this happens, it is both exciting and terrifying.
A very long time ago, I wrote a book called Souls Triumphant. It spent some time in limbo before I finally published it, and when people read it, I invariable heard, “Will there be a sequel?” Stupidly, I would immediately answer, “No, this is a one and done deal.”
I say this was a stupid response for three reasons.
The first reason is that a writer should never do anything to quell a reader’s excitement. If people wanted a sequel to Souls Triumphant, I should have at least kept an open mind to it. Instead, I blatantly stated that there would be no sequel, and in doing so, I effectively lost a future reader for a potential book.
The second reason I say this was stupid is because who the heck was I to say I would never write a follow-up to Souls Triumphant? As I get older, I realize that there are different phases of “me.” The twenty-four year old me was one distinctive person. The thirty-four year old me is someone else altogether. Both “me,” and yet not.
The third reason is that stories are sometimes out of the writer’s control, and writers would do well to accept that inarguable fact. As clearly established, I never considered writing a sequel to Souls Triumphant. But then, about a year ago, an aspect of the story crept into my mind and provoked my imagination. Every once in a while that little detail would flash through my head, and I would always give it weight. And then tonight – tonight! – an entire story unfolded as I did the dishes.
I kid you not.
The plot, the characters, the theme – all of it. It just happened. I wasn’t trying to make it happen. I really hadn’t even been thinking about it too hard (on a conscious level). It just popped in there. And now that it’s fully there, it has to get out.
Will I actually write it? Yeah, I probably will. You see, I care about my characters from Souls Triumphant. I almost consider them family. And when it dawned on me that one of them in particular got treated in a way my thirty-four year old self just can’t handle … Well, I guess the story demanded something be done.
Is it a sequel? No, I don’ t think so. What I have in my mind is more of a follow-up. Ten years have passed since I wrote the story, and I want Joe and Alessandra to have aged ten years as well. I want the world to have moved on, too. Those ten years, in fact, are essential to the plot I have in mind. We’ve all matured in the last ten years, and this story will reflect those changes in tone, values, and senses of responsibility.
Times like tonight make a believer out of me. The imagination and the capacity for love are indeed our most beautiful gifts, and make no mistake about it – love is the driving force behind this story’s emergence.