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Writing that Sequel
Guest Post by Jen McConnel 

When I first had the idea for the Red Magic series, I didn’t realize it wanted to be a trilogy until I was well into the first book. As the story unfolded, I realized there was so much more to discover about Darlena and her world, and I started jotting notes for the rest of the series.

And then I broke all the rules.

As soon as I finished the first draft of DAUGHTER OF CHAOS, I jumped right into the first draft of what would become GODS OF CHAOS.

I know, I’m such a rebel.

Again and again, I’ve heard the conventional wisdom from authors and other industry professionals that it’s a bad idea to write the rest of a series before finding a home for the first book. What if the publisher doesn’t want more than one? What if the editor has a different vision for the series than you? What if the readers love it so much that they want a never ending series, rather than a neat and tidy duology or trilogy? There’s a lot of wisdom behind the advice to wait on writing your sequel, but even so, this is one rule I am continuously thankful I broke.


Well, first off, I was able to write all three books in very quick succession, capturing the original voice and feel from the get go. Also, because I drafted the series in the span of a year, all three books “grew up” together in terms of revisions and plot shifts. But probably the biggest reason I’m glad I broke this rule is the fact that I’m a pantser, not a planner, and I didn’t know where Darlena was going to end up until I’d written all three books…and that meant that there were things I needed to go back and change in the first book. If I’d waited until I sold DAUGHTER to complete the series, the story would have been locked down, and I wouldn’t have been able to make the needed adjustments to the earlier books for the way the story developed over time.

I feel really fortunate that I began the Red Magic series before I’d heard the standard advice about series books, because writing DAUGHTER, GODS, and TRIUMPH in quick succession allowed me to fully immerse myself in Darlena’s world, which is one of the reasons I think she’s a character whose voice comes back to me instantly when I’m revising, even now that it’s been four years since I started the series. I love all my characters and all my stories, but I’ve honestly never felt closer to a cast of characters than I do to Darlena and her friends and foes, and I think that has a lot to do with the way I wrote the sequels!

Gods of Chaos

Red Magic #2
Jen McConnel
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Month9Books, LLC.
Genre: Paranormal
The gods of chaos cannot be trusted.

Since battling her best friend, Darlena’s grip on Red Magic has been shaky. She heads to Scotland after the Winter Solstice in search of another Red Witch.

On a sightseeing excursion with girls from her hostel, Darlena arrives at The Vaults, a mysterious underground city beneath Edinburgh. But there is something there that make Darlena’s instincts go haywire, as she lets loose a defensive burst of Red Magic, putting everyone around her in danger.

If there was ever a time when Darlena needed the help of another Red witch, it was now. But beware the witch who wields Red Magic.
About the Author

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her fiction titles include YA and NA, and she also writes nonfiction. Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.

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