Thursday, 23 January 2020

Book Blog Blitz Stop with Guest Post: The Cure by Patricia Bowen

The Cure by Patricia Bowen

 Is There Safety in Sequels… for Readers and Writers?
Many authors write sequels and series. Readers who enjoy a certain character or recurring plot theme gravitate to them in confidence their tastes will be satisfied. They’re a mixed blessing for writers. Each book in a series typically has to have its own tale and stand on its own without having to read the preceding one. Yet threads must hold them together, such as common characters, or a story line that spans shared time or place. And, from a market perspective, readers might balk if buying book four in a series requires purchasing the preceding three.
I’ve encountered this challenge while embarking on writing my first trilogy. Its main plot theme revolves around the discovery of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease in 2058. A doctor on a medical research team needs extensive, long-term test results for their new drug, and instead of putting it through years of clinical trials, he time-travels back to 2018 to start his longitudinal study there. Thus, by the time the drug is ready for market, it will have forty years of history on its efficacy. No spoilers here, so without giving away the plot details, book one, The Cure, takes place in 2018, with some flashbacks and flash forwards for character backstory. Book two, Legacy of The Cure, to be published in Spring 2020, is active in 2035-38. And book three, Fulfillment of The Cure, to be published by early 2021, will take place in 2060.
I’ve drafted a matrix for myself to show how the characters will move through the story over time. I’ve also shown the draft to fellow writers to get a sense of the plot line’s credibility, and am tweaking it as the story evolves during the writing and revision processes.
My challenges in writing three books tied together with one major thread are many. How much of the story has to be ‘rehashed’, how much backstory told from one book to the next, so the reader is grounded with pertinent details? Which of the details are the most pertinent, and which have no bearing on the current (second or third) book?
While one or more characters may stay in the trilogy for the entire forty-plus year span, they may or may not always be the protagonists. New characters must be brought in to keep the story fresh and interesting and they may overshadow the others with their status and actions. Will readers stay with the book-to-book plot if characters they’ve been rooting for are diminished or totally gone?
Finally, how to not be predictable with where the story is going and how it will end. With the timeline and significant backstory already known in book one, The Cure, I believe it’s important to give readers unexpected events, and relationships, and plot twists that make them want to keep turning the pages through the entire trilogy. Heck, I need those unexpected things too, to make me want to keep writing.
If you have certain preferences of things you like to see, or not see, in sequels, whether related to plot or character, drop me a line at You might make my job easier, and your reading more enjoyable.

A stranger from the future comes to Paige’s cabin in rural Georgia with a treatment for her early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He bargains with the skeptical patient to give her The Cure if she’ll conduct a longitudinal study for him, proving his drug’s efficacy to a future world full of clients that need it. Faced with her dire diagnosis, he might be her only hope. She grapples with the side effects of his offer and learns to suppress her own dangerous truth: trust no one.
Seldom lucky in love, Paige finds herself competing with her best friend for his attention, knowing there can be no good end for their stolen moments of passion. Can she stay under the radar of the medical and legal communities to carry out his requests? And how will their complicated pasts bring them together physically, emotionally and professionally in a successful, if unethical, partnership?
Many lives will be changed, but at what cost… and to whom?

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Patricia Bowen writes novels, novellas and short stories, mostly about women with complicated lives. She’s been a copywriter, business owner, coach, marketing manager, and held corporate jobs in international business. She pens gardening articles for her local newspaper, and grants to support her local library. Her recent writing has appeared in the Table for Two anthology, The Sun magazine, and earned honourable mention in several contests. The Cure is her first full published work of fiction.

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