In just a few weeks, my second novel Prophetess will be released. In light of that, I thought I’d run a guest spot written by my friend and lead editor on Prophetess, Kat Heckenbach. Kat recently released her second novel Seeking Unseen, and here she gives a little insight into the terror a writer faces when it’s time for that second novel to go forth.
by Kat Heckenbach
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there is a ride called “The Tower of Terror” based on the show Twilight Zone. Wikipedia says, “The attraction takes place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel (itself inspired by the Hollywood Tower, named a historic landmark by the US Department of the Interior). The story of the hotel, adapted from elements of the television series, includes the hotel being struck by lightning on October 31, 1939, mysteriously transporting an elevator cart full of passengers to the Twilight Zone and causing an entire wing of the building to disappear.”
The ride takes you up into the building, where you experience different scenes, and then you end up in the “elevator” when the lightning strikes, and the elevator plummets. This all involves being in a lot of darkness, then suddenly a set of doors in front of you opens and you immediately plunge–going faster than you would if you were actually falling, btw.
My husband and I rode this ride not long after it first opened. There was oddly no one in line that day (trust me, that’s really unusual even now that’s it’s been there for ages) and Jeff and I got to go twice in a row.
The first time was terrifying because I had no idea what to expect. But it was also thrilling and fun, so when I got to the bottom and Jeff asked if I wanted a second ride, I was like, “Oh, yeah!!!”
Then we rode the second time. I was already familiar with what was coming, but this time I was able to take in things I hadn’t noticed before. I also could anticipate when the drop was about to occur, and I guess I tensed. I really should have enjoyed the second time more–knowing I’d survived that first drop and felt the awesomeness of the ride…
But instead, as that elevator plunged, so did my stomach.
And when I got off the ride, I had to immediately find a place to sit down. My legs were shaking, I felt dizzy, and I had to fight to not hurl all over the walkway.
That, my friends, is how I am feeling now with the second book. I have survived the first. This one should be, if not easier, at least a more relaxed and confident ride. But I also know all about the “drops” and I am hesitant to plunge again. Yes, I’m proud of myself for doing it again, but my stomach is in knots, my legs are weak, and I am fighting to keep it together.
The big difference is, after that second Tower of Terror ride, I never rode again. To this day, you can’t get me on there, even though Jeff still loves the ride, my son adores it, and someday my daughter may, too. I will be “that” mom, standing to the side, eating a big ole roasted turkey leg or something, while my family all rides together. I simply can’t do it.
BUT I will NOT let the same thing happen with my writing.
Still, the questions are there: What if the people who loved Finding Angel hate Seeking Unseen? What if I chose to play up the stuff everyone was meh about in Finding Angel, while ignoring the stuff everyone wanted more of?
I know my audience is small at this point, and I worry that it always will be. There have been times, I admit, when I wondered if I even needed to bother writing the second book. What if not enough people read the first one to justify a second?
But those people who did read and love Finding Angel mean so much to me!! I simply can’t let them down. Unlike my family who will have to go on Tower of Terror without me, the second ride in my writing journey can only be taken by me. I have to do it again, no matter how terrified I am.