I have finally finished–for now–the sequel to When Stars Die, The Stars Are Infinite. Finishing When Stars Die and having my book published by a press was an awesome reward for hard work, but finishing The Stars Are Infinite is an even greater reward. Do you know how long I have been working on this book? I have been working on it since I was 14, and I haven’t exactly shelved it since that age. There was a time where I shelved it for almost two years, but that was so I could whip When Stars Die into shape, knowing that it needed to be the first book in The Stars Trilogy. But The Stars Are Infinite was so much harder to work on than When Stars Die, simply because you look at the first book and wonder how you can beat it. I know many, many authors, including bestsellers, struggle with trying to make the sequel better than the previous book, and I hope I have managed that–after some hardcore edits of course, which I am expecting for this book, as it is about 20,000 words longer than When Stars Die and was so much harder to write.
I know Shannon Thompson mentioned that she had a low when finishing Seconds Before Sunrise (though she is still in edits), but I have no such lows for TSAI. I am glad to be done with it, glad to be FULLY done with it. This book was a monstrous 700 page novel when it first began; as I’ve said, I was fourteen and didn’t know at the time what the appropriate word count should be for a first YA novel. It’s still going to be a longer book, as is expected of sequels, but I’m still hoping that at least a few thousand words can be parced from it, as I managed to parce about 3,000 words from WSD through edits.
I am primarily glad to be done with this book because for years I couldn’t peg down the ending. Oh certainly with the first draft I had the ending done, but I never really tore the book apart. I just kept picking at what was there instead of trying to figure out what wasn’t there, which was an entire re-vampling of the overall story. But writing When Stars Die first and having it published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. has given me a lot of inspiration for The Stars Are Infinite, especially the few three star reviews the book has thus far. It is especially the three star reviews that have pushed me to make the sequel way better than the first book. Now I know reviews are meant for readers, but as writers, I think we can flourish from the three star ones. 4 and 5 star ones boost the ego, and 2 and 1 star ones often aren’t that helpful in helping one grow as a writer, but 3 star reviews are not inherently bad at all. In fact, several of my 3 star reviews have said they are looking forward to this sequel, and I’m hoping I do not disappoint. After all, my beta reader, Mariah Wilson, was absolutely blown away by the sequel, so hopefully everyone else will be as well.
So what can you expect from this sequel? I know one reviewer wanted to know a lot more about Amelia–AKA Dervla, now–but with the way she changes at the end of WSD, I figured her perspective was not necessary, because if I were to put it in her perspective, the entire book would be her pining after her little brother, and that isn’t a plot at all. Instead, I’ve relegated her to a minor character, but she is still very much present–pining after her little brother, of course, which is a sub-plot of the book.
At the end of WSD, if you pay attention, I do hint at who the next protagonist is going to be. Her name is Alice Sheraton, and you will begin to understand why it’s in her perspective within, about, the first five or six chapters of the book. So here’s a summary of the book (totally not edited or approved):
Alice Sheraton wishes she could free herself from her corset and instead put it on somebody else. But this corset soon becomes haunted and binds her in ways she didn’t think was possible. Eventually she has to go on a dark adventure to remove this corset, which ticks her life away day-by-day. Eventually she comes across a boy named Nathaniel Gareth, who suggests she remove her bloomers to loosen this corset. When this doesn’t work, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place. As her life dwindles by the days, she either has to accept her fate, or find someone to undo the curse.
JUST KIDDING! This is not the summary at all. In fact, I don’t even know where to begin summarizing The Stars Are Infinite. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to work on When Heaven Was Blue, which I have several great ideas on how to fix it, along with professional edits and my fabulous beta reader’s suggestions. So you’ll just have to wait until later to find out what TSAI is about.