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Second Book Syndrome, a guest post by Angela Marsons



To be honest I had never heard of Second Book Syndrome until, well…until I started working on Evil Games – my second book in the Kim Stone series.



Until this point I had spent 25 years writing books and stories that never made it out into the big wide world.  I would finish a book, send it out for submission, cry over the rejection letters and then move on to the next.  There was no editor on my shoulder or publisher beating down my door or a reader waiting to see what came next.  Pure blissful ignorance.


But Evil Games was different.  Silent Scream had already been set free and subjected to prying eyes and critics and reviewers.  And they had liked it so much so that the book reached the #1 spot on Amazon and didn’t move for a month.  No pressure for the second book in the series then!


As I sat down to work on Evil Games the fears punched me in the face one by one.  Could I possibly make book two as good as book one? Part of me wanted to write the exact same book again but another part wanted to write something completely different.  I feared that the psychological aspect of Evil Games would be unpopular as I was not writing a second straight police procedural.


Was I a one hit wonder? Would I be like a gimmicky Christmas number 1 song with a follow up single that wouldn’t even chart.  I imagined myself moving house, moving from my area, even to another country if this happened.


Would the world realise I was just a lucky fraud? Most writers I know feel as though they are frauds.  Each book they write seems like another lucky escape.


Would anyone be excited about book two? The response to Silent Scream from bloggers and reviewers was phenomenal.  Could I dare hope they would feel the same level of enthusiasm for the second book?


Did I have anything left to say?  This was probably my biggest fear of them all.  What if the well had run dry?  What if my characters turned mute and stopped telling me their stories?


The doubts were, at times, overwhelming and more than once my pencil would stop moving across the page as these intrusive demons played havoc in my mind.


Eventually I splurged every fear in what may have been one long complete sentence of incomprehensible rubbish to my partner who smiled with far too much understanding and reassurance.  She uttered four words that have stayed with me and seen me through every doubt since.


She said, ‘Trust in the process’.


The simplicity of the advice found its way through the dense fog of doubt and gave me the courage to step away from the Silent Scream experience and focus on sending my characters on a brand new journey.



About Angela Marsons:


Angela Marsons lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador and a potty-mouthed parrot.  

Her books SILENT SCREAM, EVIL GAMES, LOST GIRLS AND PLAY DEAD are all available from Amazon, Kobo and iBooks.



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