Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Hardest Part About Writing a Sequel by Colleen Oakes, Author of Elly in Love + Cover Reveal + Giveaway! (US only)

You saw it here first! Colleen Oakes, author of Elly in Bloom will soon be releasing the sequel, Elly in Love, and wanted to share the official cover here on Books à la Mode. Woohoo! Colleen will be discussing her experience with writing a sequel, and there's a giveaway at the end which you don't want to miss either!

Curvy wedding florist Elly Jordan has had quite a year. First, she had to design her ex-husband’s wedding to the mistress who split them up, and then she broke up with the hottest musician this side of St. Louis. Three months have passed since then, and now Elly is primed for what promises to be the best wedding season of her life.

Helped by her loyal friends, Elly is on the verge of opening a chic flower boutique uptown when BlissBride, a popular wedding reality show, asks her to design the wedding of a famous—make that infamous—celebrity. Elly is about to get everything she’s ever wanted, when a stranger shows up at her store with a request that changes every aspect of her life—including her budding relationship with deli owner Keith. As she struggles to stay calm in the midst of growing chaos, Elly will learn the true meaning of love and sacrifice.

Filled with the heart, humor, and horticulture that made Elly in Bloom a bestseller, Elly in Love welcomes readers back to Elly’s big, beautiful, and messy life.

The Hardest Part About Writing a Sequel

The dreaded second novel is probably one of the hardest experiences for a novelist, both from a PR perspective and a writing one. When you are a debut author, everything is roses. You’re excited! Your friends are excited! Your publisher is excited, if you’re lucky. You are featured in debut blog roundups, debut author interviews, Goodreads debut lists and Amazon’s hot new releases. The buzzy delirium following your debut is a rush like no other. I imagine it’s a lot like the first grandchild’s arrival in a family: it’s the first, and everything is perfect. There can be no such thing as too much love sprinkled on the darling heir, smearing frosting in his hair at his first birthday, 1,000 iPhones aimed in his direction. A debut novel is all sparkles, Baz Luhrmann-style.

Then you sit down to write your second, and you think: Wait. I have to write another ENTIRE novel? There is no glitter reigning down from the sky. It’s just you and your coffee and a blinking word cursor. Not only do you have write an entirely new novel without that punishing desire to be an author for the first time, but it now has to be better than the first one. In most cases, it’s almost impossible. There’s a reason the “sophomore slump” is well known among writers. Usually a good debut novel is lightning in a bottle—the second novel, however, is much more careful and deliberate. For me, Elly in Bloom just poured out of me in a happy rush of giggles and flowers. Elly in Love, the sequel, took much more plotting and long-term projecting. At first, I wasn’t thrilled with this technical diagramming of what should be a very fun book, but I think it’s better for it. The magic of Elly in Bloom is still on every page, but the where and how Elly is going about her journey from chubby trainwreck to chubby ruler of the known floral world is a bit more organized this time around.

So even though the sophomore slump can be a real fear for writers, there can be an entirely different way of looking at it: that practice improves every area of life, and if that’s true, the second book should be brighter and better than the first.


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one finished print copy of Elly in Love—yay!! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:

Am I the only one who thinks wedding planning is exciting?? (Probably yes, since I haven't planned my own yet, and I'm sure that experience would be stressful enough to change my mind completely). If you got to plan a huge celebrity wedding, what would you want to be in charge of? Music, flowers, photography, decorations, food, dressmaking, vows, etc. etc.—share with us! 
I would want to do the cake! Not that I have any cake-making/decorating experience, but wedding cakes are amazing. I'd love to be a part of the process. What about you?

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Colleen and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author and publicist—a huge thank you to SparkPoint and Colleen!
Giveaway ends May 29th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only—sorry, international readers! Check out my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide—there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!