“Don’t it make you wanna lay down and cry, When they tell you it’s time you have to die.
Burton Cummings~Life in the Bloodstream
To paraphrase Gen. MacArthur, old protagonists never die, they just fade away. When I recovered from the euphoria of seeing my first novel in print, there arose a spirit tempting me.
“Sequel” it whispered.
I had created three heroic characters that I loved. It seemed a shame to just let them die. “What if” events for a new book did flash through my mind and I had left a secret back door open. It may be one of the few times in my life that I resisted temptation. At the time it seemed the thing to do. It was them or me.
I didn’t kill my protagonists off. I just let them ride into the sunset because I didn’t want to be tied down. I had no idea for the next book, but I knew I wanted to do something different—and completely different sounded good.
Though a book series can be phenomenally successful, a sequel isn’t always a good idea. It becomes too easy to slip into a rut and let creativity languish. The other danger is usually touted as a plus. Readers come to expect certain things of you—like an actor who has played the same role for years. For me, the one thing I don’t want is for my readers to relax. I want them wondering what the hell I’m going to write next.
Of course, this comes from a guy with a four-book series who is busy writing number five. However, I confess, the Ed Landry series was planned before I even started writing Bayou Moon. The recurring appearance of the rougarou has taken me by surprise. That was not part of the plan though vampires and voodoo were. Krampus ended up in the series because I like Christmas chills, and that was in keeping with the original Ed Landry idea of a hard-luck guy who keeps bumping into the supernatural.
Kit Mann was supposed to fade away after Judgment. He’s still around. The boys of the Lazy L weren’t supposed to be back. They are. Series happen. But they do not go on forever. I will say this, everybody is back in 2023—in 2024, well, who knows? Someday, I may become a serial killer.