Guest post by Tammy Euliano
In March of 2021, Oceanview published my debut medical thriller, Fatal Intent. It was, of course, thrilling (see what I did there?) and I had fun with blog interviews and podcasts and tracking my ratings on Amazon and GoodReads. Reading the reviews? Well, that was both a high and a low of course. My baby, one I’d worked on for years, with innumerable versions, was finally out there. I was a published author!
And then my publisher said something that took me completely off guard, “When can we expect the sequel?”
“We like to have about a year in between and we’re planning a year out now.”
“Ummm.” Quick math, carry the one, I was supposed to have a sequel ready like…now.
Not that we hadn’t talked about it. They’d told me from the beginning my protagonist, Dr. Kate Downey, could be a series character. And my contract was for basically right-of-refusal for my next book. I had written another book, during the years of pitching Fatal Intent (and well before covid). It’s a near-future, post-pandemic novel about a world of infertility and the woman who finds the cure. But Oceanview doesn’t do near-future. They wanted a sequel.
The Sequel. Wait… What?
I’d started writing another book, in a sort of “John Q” vein, with an engineer hacking a medical device to force treatment for his ill son. Yeah, it wasn’t all that plausible but… when my publisher mentioned the whole “Where’s our sequel?” thing, I turned the plot around a bit (okay, a lot) and ended up with my plan for a sequel.
So it turns out a plan is not a finished novel ready to be added to a production schedule. And also, despite having published a book and written 1.5 others, turns out I didn’t actually have a “writing method” (you have to do the finger quotes with it). I’d thoroughly plotted Fatal Intent (though the end result barely resembled that early attempt) and I’d completely pantsed my 0.5 novel in NaNoWriMo resulting in a hot mess. So I decided to “plants” this one, took my early John Q idea, traced out a very rough outline through about the midpoint, then started writing.
It flowed reasonably well, except for the ending, when I decided it was too obvious and changed the bad guy, forcing me to go back and add in bread crumbs along the way. I typed THE END, but froze before sending to my publisher. It hadn’t been through dozens of beta readers, and my version numbers were still in the single digits, and I wasn’t certain I’d been true to my character voices from book 1, and how do I give a series character a second arc, and for how long can I have my love interests say it’s too soon to advance their side-plot relationship because I’m not up for writing “that” scene?
It went through a couple revisions, and of course the obligatory title change, but at last Misfire launched on January 3, 2023. I hope I’ve been true to the characters. But now it’s in the hands of the readers and that’s a little terrifying. I so want them to love it.
And guess what? Book three is due…and not done. What’s my writing method again?
Tammy Euliano’s writing is inspired by her day job as a physician, researcher and educator at University of Florida. She’s received numerous teaching awards, ~100,000 views of her YouTube teaching videos, and was featured in a calendar of women inventors (available wherever you buy your out-of-date planners). Her short fiction has been recognized by Glimmer Train, Bards & Sages, Flame Tree Press, and others. Her debut medical thriller, Fatal Intent, was published by Oceanview in 2021. Kathy Reichs of Bones fame called it, “Medical suspense as sharp as it gets.” The sequel, Misfire, is out in January 2023. Michael Connelly, best-selling author of the Bosch series, called it “a first rate medical thriller.”