But it didn’t for me. I fell in love with the two main protagonists and knew by the time I had finished my first draft that there would be more to come. I just didn’t know how or what, but the idea of a series, with a trilogy to fill out Michael’s high school years, formed soon after.
Hence the sequel, Hearing Evil. As I’m sure you’re familiar with the Three Wise Monkeys, I’m also sure you can guess what the next book will be called. However, the title of the series is a Cycle of Evil. I have at least five potential plot lines for my protagonists to go down, at least one of which would see one or both of my two heroes dead, and maybe even before the last book.
This is what I think about when I can’t sleep, or in those quiet times in the shower or when I’m on the phone with my mother (kidding, Ma!). And since she won’t read this, I’m not really kidding. The only book I wrote with the idea of a sequel in mind was People of the Sun, and at the rate I’m going, maybe I’ll write that for fun when I retire.
Anyway, all of that’s getting way ahead of myself. Every book I write, I write with the intention of it being a stand-alone novel. Hearing Evil is my first sequel, and if you ignore the epilogue that hints toward the next book, you have a complete story, with most but not all loose ends tied up in a pretty bow.
In this book, I was thinking series. I was thinking universe building. And I was thinking an overarching Big Bad, one based in fact. Much like I pulled from both the Branch Davidians and Joshua Milton Blahyi in A Life Removed, the ultimate villain in the next in the Cycle will be drawn from history and will be penultimate.
Originally, I planned to tie A Life Removed into the Cycle of Evil series, and there will be some crossover references for my diehard readers, but the next story is going to be Sam and Michael’s greatest test. So whether anyone wants to read it or not, Speaking Evil is a book I need to write, and it’ll probably be over 400 pages. So it will be a while coming. Not George R.R. Martin timing, but you know… close.