Sunday, 13 June 2010

The curse of the sequel

I am about to go to Italy for two weeks - a holiday, yay!
But also research for Stravaganza: City of Swords in Lucca and David in Carrara and Settignano. Tax deductible, as always.

Anyway, one of my pre-leaving jobs is always "answer fanmail" and TWO people had written on the same date, from different countries to ask if I would write a sequel to The Falconer's Knot.

Now, I am very fond of The Falconer's Knot. It was my first "proper" historical novel, commissioned by Bloomsbury, shortlisted for the Guardian Prize, winner of the French Prix Polar Jeunesse and now shortlisted for another French prize (it is called "Rouge Crime" in France).

But it is complete in itself. There are, if I remember rightly, five murders, the culprit(s) revealed and two couples get together (OK three if you are being technical). What could a sequel possibly be about?

It's OK when a book has been conceived as a trilogy or longer sequence but tacking on "book two" as an afterthought is something that happens far too often, IMO. Same with films: did we really need Back to the Future 2 and 3, when the original film had a well-crafted plot and satisfactory ending?

And I'm QUITE sure we don't need Avatar 2, even though we are going to get it. Fans and sometimes publishers are very keen on sequels but they sell less well, get fewer foreign editions, are not so often shortlisted for prizes and certainly get fewer reviews than their originals.

So, no guys, I am NOT planning a sequel to The Falconer's Knot!

Back after the holidays


Vintage Vic said...

Great post, Mary. Sequels are nearly always disappointing, except perhaps for Godfather II, but that was followed by the mega-awful III.

I fear there is going to be more than one Avatar sequel. The strapline 'Return to Pandora' will eventually become the title for the first film, much like the first Star Wars became Star Wars 4: A New Hope!

Linda Strachan said...

You're going to Carrara! Just told 'him indoors' the other day that I really wanted to go there. Will want to hear all about it when you get back!

Anonymous said...

Good! Loved the book, but am happy to wait for another great book about something else.

Katherine Langrish said...

Can you work an emerald green glove into City of Swords...?

Leslie Wilson said...

I am glad, too, Mary, that you are going to keep your freshness and not start writing sequels to The Falconer's Knot!! I do also very much look forward to the next one.

Bokomaten.. said...

I recieved Falconers knot today at the library in Sweden. Looking forward to it. I am going both to Lucca and Settignano in a few weeks. Perhaps I should look up Carrara as well then...:)

Mary Hoffman said...

What a coincidence! It took a while to find the Michengelo Villa in Settignano and we were doing it in the pouring rain but we persevered. Lucca is always magical and we'll go back next year by which time Swords will be nearly finished!

Actually we loved Carrara, though everything shuts from 1-5pm.