When I was a reporter, I came into the office every day knowing I had a hole in the paper to fill with a story that was fresh and engaging. While I often planned out what I was working on days in advance and, of course, followed up on stories deserving additional attention, much of what I wrote was expected to be new.
As an author, I find myself falling into the same mindset. After writing Chasing Deception, I moved on to the next project. I may have done so in part because after 15 years from first draft to published book, I knew the story so well I didn’t think there was any more tale to tell. Jim Mitchell, Melissa Jenkins and Jeremiah Harmon had become so familiar to me that when they left it was like they were children who had grown up and were going away to college (well, not Jeremiah so much, but you have to read the book to understand why).
But as children often tend to boomerang back home after a few years, so did these characters. People wanted more of Jim and Melissa and I began to wonder what I could give new and returning readers that would draw in and capture their attention. Ideas began to percolate and Undue Pressure, which is the working title for the sequel to Chasing Deception, started to take shape.
As I sat down to launch the new manuscript, old fears began to nibble at my brain: What if I don’t have enough story to tell? What if I have misjudged my audience and they don’t want more of these characters? How much of the old story do I include in the new one?
Despite these concerns, I dove into the narrative a couple weeks sooner than expected and things are going well so far. It’s weird to be back in the head of Jim Mitchell, almost like running into your best friend from high school a few years after graduation. While I worked on other projects, and taught enough to support my penchant for writing, I hadn’t spent time with the former reporter turned college professor. As I began writing, I saw that Jim Mitchell may be a little older and a touch wiser, but is driven by some of the same passions that have always moved him.
I have returned to the scene of the action and, while some of the landscape is different, the players are the same. So, what will happen to our beloved characters this time around?
Like me, you’ll have to wait and see.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.