When my eldest son was still in swaddling blankets I used to rock with him close. I thought a second child could never be as special to me as my first. As my son grew into a little boy, this belief was only strengthened. He was quiet, polite, eager to please, and as helpful as anyone could expect a toddler to be. At the time, I had no interest in adding another child to our family. I believed I had hit the child temperament jackpot. Since cloning wasn’t really an option, I worried about having another. I just couldn’t help worrying that I would subconsciously compare my second to my first and that just wouldn’t be fair to him or her.
But two-year olds are demanding, and mine was no exception. My son was incredibly shy around anyone who wasn’t a close associate, almost to the point of paralysis. Play dates weren’t worth the hassle of coordinating. All I wanted to do after a long day at work was sit down on the couch for a few minutes, but he wouldn’t have it. After playing the same game for the hundredth time, I caught myself thinking how nice it would be if he had a friend to play with. Someone he’d feel comfortable around. Someone who would match him in energy. We didn’t decide to have another kid just to provide our eldest with a diversion. There were a number of other factors that influenced our decision over the next several months, but this thought was a starting point.
My second son came into this world roaring. While they resemble each other physically (at least in coloring), my boys have vastly different personalities. I should never have worried. Comparisons between the two of them are like comparing a dog to a cat. For example, my youngest rarely cares about your approval. No, in his opinion, it is more important to him that he approve you. He’ll follow the rules if they suit him, ignore them entirely if they don’t. He has a stubborn streak that could almost be seen from space. But he was born knowing how to charm a room. He’s quick to smile, fills the house with comfortable chatter, and loves to cuddle. My boys couldn’t be more different, and yet I love them both the same.
To make it as an indie writer, I’ve been told that you must have more than a couple of books to your name, ideally at least five. Therefore I needed to expand my family of work too. Unfortunately writing is a long, drawn out process. Especially when you are trying to squeeze it in between a full-time job and parenting. Publishing the work takes even more time. My first novel had barely started seeing its first sales when I decided I needed to start writing a second.
I didn’t know how well An Uncertain Faith would be received at the time it launched. Although I’ve since read a number of opinions advocating writing sequels as means of developing your writing platform, I chose to work on something different. I didn’t want to spend precious time on a sequel until I knew it had an audience. In the end, not only is the resulting story different from my first, it isn’t even in the same genre. I didn’t do this out of some hidden dislike of my first experience. It just was the story that came into being.
I was several chapters in before I read opinions suggesting that genre hopping might also be a mistake. By then I was too committed to my project to turn back. I’ve sent my second manuscript off to be professionally edited. With any luck title reveal, cover reveal, advance reviews, and book launch excitement may soon follow. ‘Soon’ will depend on publishing schedules and deals I am and am not willing to make. I hope that when it does make its way to bookshelves or onto e-readers you will find a passing resemblance between the two stories at least in style and will enjoy them as much as I have.
I may soon find out whether or not if I can make it in more than one genre. Until then, it is time to get started work on project number three.