Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Tom Huddleston’s futuristic dystopian adventures, ‘Flood World,’ and ‘Dust Road.’ Tom transports us to a world ravaged by a changing climate where society is in turmoil. These fast-paced and thrilling tales take us on a journey with Kara and Jo who are battling for survival in a dangerous and ruthless environment where they find themselves inadvertently caught up in the most deadly and perilous situations. Brilliantly dramatic and packed with perils, these books are a must have for adrenaline seeking readers who revel in edge-of-your-seat action.
To celebrate the release of, ‘Dust Road,’ I have a special guest post from Tom Huddleston about how he approached writing the sequel.
The Perils of Writing a Sequel – Tom Huddleston
My futuristic adventure story FloodWorld – set on the outskirts of the drowned city of London in a world after climate change – was always intended to be the first book in a series. Although I carefully plotted the ending so that it could, if necessary, stand alone, I always hoped that someone would want to commission a sequel. With the publication of DustRoad, that dream has been realised.
It’s great to be asked to write a sequel – it means that someone loved whatever you did the first time so much that they want you to do it all over again (in this case, it was my fantastic publishers Nosy Crow). But writing a sequel is like walking a tightrope. On one side there’s the Pit of Overfamiliarity, where you end up telling the same story again and boring the reader to tears. On the other is the Chasm of Complexity, where the new book is so exotic and challenging that the reader is left flummoxed. The trick is to stay right in the middle, offering up new locations, characters and situations without losing sight of the things readers enjoyed the first time.
For me, the big appeal of FloodWorld came from two things: the world, and the characters. The idea of a drowned earth has almost limitless possibilities, and I was really keen to explore more of this climate-ravaged future. DustRoad takes place largely in North America, a blasted desert continent that has been at war with itself for generations. Inspired by a series of real-life road trips through the southern states, I mapped out a journey from one coast to the other, through changing landscapes and all kinds of peril.
The characters, too, needed to change. The heroes of FloodWorld, street kids Kara and Joe, had learned a lot from their experiences. Their friendship had been tested, their horizons widened, and Kara had begun to wrestle with tricky questions of morality and conscience. Now they had to go further, to grow and develop just like real people. Throughout DustRoad, both kids are put in some extreme situations, they’re forced to make tough decisions and end up coming face to face with tragedy. Each of these experience will affect them – for better and for worse.
I can’t imagine wanting to write a sequel where all the same things happen – if it’s boring for the reader, it must be twice as dull for the writer. With DustRoad, I tried to take inspiration from some of my favourite sequels – The Tombs of Atuan, The Subtle Knife, The Empire Strikes Back – to craft a story that combines the fresh with the familiar, the surprising with the satisfying. Whether I’ve succeeded is a judgement for the reader. Now, what am I going to do in Book Three…?
Thanks to Tom for a really insightful guest post, I’m sure all writers out there getting ready to face the demon of a sequel will appreciate his words of wisdom.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts and features.