Motherless Soul has been out a little more than a year and a half now. The reaction to the book has been great, so I'm working on a sequel. My goal is to have the first draft done by the end of this year. However, the first draft will require quite a bit of revising. The characters have done what they're supposed to do. They've taken over the story. I will have to go back and change some of the earlier chapters so the plot lines they picked out will work. I had a friend call this art of working beginning to end with lots of revisits along the way - “zig-zag” writing.
There are sections of the new novel that will take place in the nineteenth century. So, in addition to traditional means of research, I'm reading some literature for that era. I've read Middlemarch by George Eliot and Nana by Emile Zola and I'm about a third of the way through Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. I like what I pick up from books written during the historical era I'm covering because the authors are writing for the people of that time. They carefully describe the exceptional events, but assume the readers understand the day to day events. It takes a different kind of thought process to appreciate the classics.
The only character I'm bringing over from the first book is the hypnotist. He's moved on to a new project involving all new people. I don't want the second book to be too much like the first so I'm carefully including aspects that work out in a very different manner. I'm also using some ideas from people who enjoyed the first novel. I'm very encouraged by the way it is going, but it's far from done. No matter what happens the process is something I look forward to every day.