Second books are notorious. They're legendary for being difficult AND scary.
For the author, there's the problem of producing something as good, if not better, than their debut. They may be producing it to a deadline for the first time. They have to think of something new and different, but sufficiently similar, so that any fans they may have acquired are not disappointed. The first book - well, that may have been the product of years of work, that has been refined over time, at a leisurely pace, with no deadline pressures and with no-one but the author and a few critique partners to please. Not that critique partners let a writer get away easily, but you know what I mean.
But the second book? The second book is the proof that the first one wasn't just a fluke.
I'm pondering all this, because I am in the middle of editing my second book to be published, and am closer to it at the moment than I have been in several years. I'm not quite a typical 'second booker' in that Out of Sight, Out of Mind was written before my debut novel, so I haven't been producing it to a deadline. As an unpublished manuscript it was actually more successful in competitions, so theoretically it has just as good a pedigree as Never Coming Home.
But - the new book is different. Never Coming Home is a fast paced thriller, with a high, and rather gory, body count. Quite where all that gore came from, I'm not too sure. A lot of people have said how much they enjoyed it, and how much they are looking forward to the next one. Out of Sight, Out of Mind is a love story, and a thriller, but it's not the same as its predecessor.
For a start, it has a paranormal element. Both my leading characters can read minds. I like to think I've explored that phenomena as a challenge that sets them apart and which they have to learn to live with, but some people just don't like anything in their reading matter that isn't 'real'. I think Out of Sight, Out of Mind is more romantic than Never Coming Home, as most of the scenes are between my hero and heroine and the focus is very much on the development of their relationship, which is actually one of the hinges of the plot. It has a few deaths, but nothing like the number in the first book. At the opening my hero is destitute and homeless, not exactly conventional stuff. So - a lot of things are very different ...
I still love the story. I hope other people will too ...