Monday, 13 June 2016

What Happened Next? By Sheena Wilkinson

What happened next?

That’s what I always want to know. That's what keeps us reading, and, when a book really gets under our skin, keeps us wondering about the characters long after THE END. Did Scarlett win Rhett back? Were Christina and Mark happy? How did Darrell and Sally get on at St Andrew's? I've only just realised that Kitty Barne wrote a sequel to one of my favourite childhood books, She Shall Have Music, and I can't wait to read it. 

Sometimes on school visits, readers ask me what happened next to some of my own characters. Often I don’t know, though I always have a fair idea. When I judged a writing competition in County Clare this spring, based around my historical novel Name Upon Name, I got to see what other people imagined happened next to those characters. Which was Very Odd. (In a good way.)

When the 13th started to loom this month, I wondered, as I always do, what to focus on here. There are plenty of debates going on around children’s books, libraries, YA fiction, Europe… Things I care deeply about but don’t much feel like writing about here. ABBA is the only place online where I tend to get a bit more personal. Some would say self-indulgent. So I decided to write a sequel. Two, in fact.

In March this year I blogged about what it feels like when your writing career seems to have stalled.  When the rejections are flying in so fast that you’re still reeling from one before the next one hits you. When you start to fear that your last book was your Last Book. I hated every second of writing that post; I very nearly didn't post it. It felt so -- naked. 

But I’m glad I wrote it, because – as so often with ABBA – it clearly struck a chord with other writers, and I’m looking forward, at the upcoming Charney retreat in July, to sharing some insights about how to keep going in those disheartening circumstances, and to learning from others. 

The sequel to that post? Well, I’m about to sign not one but two contracts. My last book was not my Last Book.  I can’t say more than that just yet, but oh! the relief!

Last month I blogged about my plum tree, the sad fate thereof.

And the sequel to that?


Penny Dolan said...

Good to know that new leaves flourish, in all sorts of ways.

Ann Turnbull said...

Good news indeed!

Ruth Hatfield said...

I wrote some terrible sequels as a kid, possibly the worst being an attempt at a Jilly Cooper sequel... but I'm glad yours have turned out to be much better! Here's to next year's plum glut!