the Second Novel
It's a giant leap for a writer having that first novel published. It feels like an arrival but in reality it's just a starting point.
To be a novelist you've got to be more than a one-book wonder and that set me thinking about where that second novel comes from. I interviewed two writers who have successfully crossed the first-novel hurdle to find out how they tackled book number two.
Brenda T. Hall
|Louise Domaratius is an American novelist living in France, where she has had a long-term career as a lycée teacher. Her first novel, Gadji, was published by Quality Words in Print (June 2002). Her second novel, Writing the Book of Ester, will be published in the fall of 2003.|
WS: When and why did the ideas start to flow?
Louise, on the other hand, was able to take more time:
What about being confined to a genre?
Is that first novel a help or a hindrance to the second?
WS: And surely that first novel gives you a tremendous boost?
WS: Can the writers give any tips to first-time novelists who feel daunted at the prospect of the second?
WS: …and where do they go from here?
Maryanne: Louise isn't looking too far ahead, however. She is formulating
ideas for her third novel but, beyond that, she is reticent. These two talented writers have taken significant steps in establishing
themselves as up-and-coming novelists of our time. It was fascinating
to talk to them and to have two different but equally valid perspectives
on the processes involved in becoming an established writer. I can only
thank them for their cooperation and wish them every success with their
second novels and their future careers. -- BTH @wordsmitten.com
Maryanne:I have an idea for a third novel, and it requires some research. I'd like to spend a bit of time on it. I'd like to get a hardcover deal. My two books are trade paper, which has been fine and probably helped sales but one wants a hardcover. Paper has a hard time getting reviewed in major journals. I'd like to publish a book of poetry, just ... because. I'd love to get a movie deal! I'd like to teach fiction writing full-time at a university (I'm adjunct now, teaching composition) in order to support myself, though a movie deal would help too. I'd like to continue my involvement with literary journals. (I'm an editor at Literary Potpourri, a contributor to Night Train's inaugural issue, active at Zoetrope Writers' Studio). I'd like to be loved, healthy, productive and, of course, spend a significant amount of time on the beach!
Louise isn't looking too far ahead, however. She is formulating ideas for her third novel but, beyond that, she is reticent.
These two talented writers have taken significant steps in establishing themselves as up-and-coming novelists of our time. It was fascinating to talk to them and to have two different but equally valid perspectives on the processes involved in becoming an established writer. I can only thank them for their cooperation and wish them every success with their second novels and their future careers. -- BTH @wordsmitten.com
|"When the first book was done, my editor needed an outline and a
couple of chapters for the second book, and that's when I decided to 'steal'
some of the structure and themes of Shakespeare's The Tempest .
Instead of brother betraying brother
over a dukedom, in my novel,
The Opposite Shore, sister betrays sister over a husband.
I've taken a lot of liberties and the novel doesn't really resemble The Tempest much, but the play is in my mind as a kind of template."
Look for Maryanne's new novel, The Opposite Shore,this summer.
|"A number of people and incidents fired my imagination, among them:
l'affaire Gabrielle Russier (this young Frenchwoman's ill-starred
liaison with her student added to the upheavals of the late sixties);
the dark-complected foreigner shoved into the Seine in Paris a few years
ago by right-wing extremists; student riots in Iran protesting against
the excesses of a fundamentalist regime.
Undue social pressure, fear of difference, repression: all these factors of tension were the basis of a plot that found its coherence thanks to the Old Testament story of Esther.
As ancient as civilization, such conflictive elements have new and frightening ways of expressing themselves in our time: the threat of terrorist attacks, the powder-keg situation in the Middle East, the closing of ranks against foreigners everywhere in Western society.
Yet, in Writing the Book of Ester, you will find neither treatise nor diatribe, but a very human story of love across age and cultural barriers."
Look for Louise's newest, Writing the Book of Ester, this year.
Maryanne Stahl, who describes herself as "living on a lake with her dog, cats, ducks, humans and other wild creatures" had Forgive the Moon published in June 2002 by New American Library. Maryanne's second novel, The Opposite Shore, is due for publication in August 2003.
For years she
has attended the Seaside Writers Conference conducted by FIU (Florida International
University) and you'll often see her there.