Writing a sequel wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve done. I had written series books before: Bartlett’s Rule & Courage of the Heart (Survivor Series); His Lucky Charm & Within the Law (Cousins Series); Final Sin & Hyphema (EMS Series) — but this was the first time I wrote an actual sequel.
What’s the difference? In two of my series I did have recurring characters, but it was always another couple who was the main focus of the book. I created Annie and Dave in Karma Visited and the story could have ended there, but it didn’t. You see both books do have the traditional HEA (Happy Ever After) implications, but somehow my fictional characters wanted more and they talked me into it.
So I wrote a continuing story of a couple — a Colorado Sheriff and a woman with an unusual and really unexpected talent. Annie is able to “travel” while she is sleeping and when Dave first met her he really only met her “essence”, it took him a while to accept that she was a real person and he wasn’t just going a bit bonkers.
Annie’s Karma opens approximately one year after “The End” of Karma Visited. Sure I had already created these “people” and now I was writing about those same characters, I did know them pretty well. Except… there was a year of growth between them. Dave had a year to accept Annie’s unusual talent. And Annie had a year to be out of an abusive marriage and learn what it was liked to be loved a kind and generous man. They couldn’t be portrayed the same way they were in the first book and that was the challenge; keep their basic traits but add new experiences.
I’ve always been a proponent of letting my characters write their own stories based on WHO they are. Each of my pivotal characters has a “dossier” so that I know what they have experienced from birth through the pages of my book. (I learned about Method Acting as a Theatre and Drama student in high school and college.) In real life no two people will react exactly the same to the same incident — for instance someone who was attacked and bitten by a dog as a child will tend to be more wary around strange dogs than the person who was raised with multiple and loving dogs in the home.
I couldn’t let the things that had happened to Annie and Dave, the things that created their personalities in Karma Visited, disappear; those early experiences had to remain and they had to be the same people who were attracted to each other. Even though new experiences may cause human beings to grow apart in real life as a writer I made the choice to keep this couple together. Annie and Dave now shared a year of history and I wanted them to grow together, but I made sure they didn’t grow at the same pace so there was a bit of friction.
I hope you’ll give me a chance and read both books and then tell me if you think I achieved that growth.
Oh, one more big change in the two books — Mauszer, Dave’s cat, had a much bigger role in Annie’s Karma.
Chelle Cordero writes stories of Passion and Suspense. Vanilla Heart Publishing has published ten Cordero novels since 2008: Bartlett’s Rule; His Lucky Charm; Within the Law; Courage of the Heart; Final Sin; Hostage Heart; A Chaunce of Riches; Common Bond, Tangled Hearts; Hyphema; Karma Visited; and Annie’s Karma. She’s written two short story anthologies, The Many Faces of Chelle Cordero, and Touch of Love. Her books have earned many plaudits and she was featured in “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” published by The Author’s Show in 2010. More information about Chelle is available at http://chellecordero.com/media/.