The Highs and Lows of Writing Sequels
I had Renegade in mind even as I began Ripper. I have been fascinated by the lamia figure as a Pre-Raphaelite focus, and part of the reason that I wanted Ripper to be more than a whodunit was so that I could have the freedom to have a higher stakes game in the second two books of the trilogy—the lamia was all part of this. Writing in the lamia and having her parallel Abbie was very exciting for me. As I embarked on writing Renegade I wanted to make certain that I had her character nuanced and intriguing. Nonetheless, Renegade was my first sequel, and I had several highs and lows in the process.
- I knew my characters! After writing Ripper, I knew exactly how my characters would act. I knew how Simon’s cool reserve would meet William’s sanguinity. I knew how creepy Max was going to act in every scene. I knew how Abbie would feel (and respond!) every time Grandmother “laid down the rules.”
- Seraphina-I enjoyed introducing a new “villain” along with the Ripper. Seraphina was so much fun to write. She was a complicated villain, both victim and villain at the same time. She had loved, she had taken risks, and, like Abbie, she didn’t like having “rules” placed upon her. She didn’t like the limits of her home in the Orkney Islands. But being part-beast, when she pressed upon the walls of her prison…well…the outcome wasn’t pretty.
- The Love Triangle-I really liked complicating the love triangle a bit. When William jumps off the deep end, I like Abbie’s deepening relationship with Simon. I was happy to finally write Simon’s backstory, about his traumatic past and why he is the way he is, devoted and enigmatic.
- Being Consistent-I’m not a detail-oriented person (see my housekeeping skills if you’re not convinced) I would much rather just spin my story, build my world. But alas, if a plot is going to be convincing, it must be consistent. I couldn’t change any rules of the Ripper world, of how Abbie’s psychic visions worked, of Max’s motivations. I had to constantly keep referring to Ripper to make certain that I wasn’t changing any small details in the plot.
- William-It was really hard for me to write William’s scenes in Renegade. Like Heathcliff to Catherine in Wuthering Heights, William isn’t the best fit for Abbie (Simon would make such a more sensible boyfriend) and yet William is who she loves. He’s a need for her, like water. It was really difficult for me, after I had the happy romantic William and Abbie scene in Ripper, to let him spiral out of control here. I hated watching him unravel, and then, as a writer, it was even worse for me to see their relationship unravel.
Obviously (since I had more highs than lows ) I truly enjoyed writing this sequel. Currently, I’m working on the conclusion to the trilogy, Resurrection, which will be out in April 2014!
Amy Carol Reeves has a PhD in nineteenth-century British literature. She published academic articles before deciding that it would be much more fun to write about Jack the Ripper. When she is not writing or teaching college classes, she enjoys running around her neighborhood with her giant Labrador retriever and serial reading Jane Austen novels. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband and two children.