Friday, February 17, 2017

#Friday Reads - One Perfect Love

To me there is something rejuvenating that happens in February. January is cold and dreary and dismal here in East Texas, and I always feel a letdown after the the Holidays that were filled with so much celebrating and excitement.

Then there is February, and my spirits are lifted.

Maybe it's because I can feel Spring hovering just around the corner. Often, we have an early warm- up the first weeks of  February, and if I look closely enough, I can see the first bits of green in my front pasture, and tiny white flower sprinkled across it.

But my spirits are also lifted because of Valentine's Day. I love all the bright displays of candy and trinkets in the stores, and the lovely bouquets of flowers. For so many people it is a time for celebrating love, and who doesn't enjoy a bit of romance? That is one reason that sales of romance novels continues to dominate the publishing marketplace.

With that in mind, I thought this was a great time to tell you about my latest book, One Perfect Love: Sequel to One Small Victory.

When I was working with the editor at Five Star Cengage/Gale before One Small Victory came out in hardback, she kept encouraging me to add more romance and spice to the story. (I wrote a little about that here in 2014 in a post To Romance or Not. ) But there were many reasons that the central characters, Jenny and Steve, could not do the wild thing within that story, even though sparks had been igniting between them. She was a civilian, working in a special capacity with a drug task force, reporting directly to Steve. Romance could not complicate their working relationship, even though they were both unattached.

There was also the matter of their emotional fragility. Jenny's oldest son had just been killed in a car accident, and Steve was still reeling from the death of his wife two years before the story of One Small Victory opened. They both realized that was not the best time to try to establish any kind of romantic relationship.

One Small Victory was published in June 2008 in hardback, and then in 2010, I released the e-book version and paperback. In 2012, Books in Motion released the audio book.

In the years since, many readers asked me if there was ever going to be a happy-ever-after for Jenny and Steve. They wanted to know what happens next for their story.

Several times, I toyed with the idea of writing a sequel, but nothing came to me until one day Jenny popped back into my head. I just love when characters do that. Since she was talking to me, I sat down at my computer and wrote the first few hundred words of the story late last summer, then finished the book in the fall.

At that time, I desperately needed to write something, as this nasty Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, with complications in my ear and right eye, as well as the postherpetic neuralgia on my face and scalp, had limited my writing time for too long. So I decided to write a novella. That was doable with only an hour or two of computer time, and it did wonders for my state of mind, which was not great last year.

When I started to write One Perfect Love, I was thrilled that Jenny and Steve came back like old friends dropping in. I didn't have to struggle at all to bring them to life. They were already living inside my head, and we had a grand time telling, "The rest of the story," as Paul Harvey was noted for saying.

Have you written a sequel to any of your books several years after the first book? Did the characters come back to you like Jenny and Steve did for me? Do you read sequels?
Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mystery, Doubletake, was named the 2015 Best Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors. She has a number of other books published, including the critically-acclaimed Season Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas.


  1. I love it when characters tell me there's more to their story than I previously told. That happened with my second novel, the updated version of which is scheduled to be released the end of March. It was going to have a sequel to tie up the loose ends dangling after the original story was published. Even though the characters nagged, I couldn't wrap my head around a full second book. Finally, I understood why: not enough story was left to tell. Then the wheels began to turn, and I added several thousand words to the original story. Voila! Worked like a charm, the story is complete, a new release date is approaching, and the characters are satisfied — at least for the present. Great post, Maryann.

    P.S. The title has been changed slightly. It is now Tormented Tango, which fits the story so much better.

    1. Thanks for adding to the topic, Linda, and I look forward to reading your book. It is great when we, with the help of the characters, figure everything out.

  2. I haven't written anything that would call for a sequel, but I do like to find out "what happens next." I especially appreciate when a sequel has enough detail to stand on its own, without completely re-hashing the first novel. One Perfect Love is just such a book. :)

    1. Thanks, Audrey. Not re-hashing the first book was a bit of a challenge as I tried to decide how much the reader needed to know to appreciate what the characters were facing now. I'm glad you found that I had a good balance in the story.

  3. I've had a few people ask me to write a sequel to my stand-alones. One just didn't require a sequel and it would have been forced to write one. Another was perfect for a series, but I didn't write that one either, though I did start one. I'm glad your characters came to life again and you were successful in completing their story.

    1. It was twenty years later for this sequel, Polly, so maybe your sequel will happen one day. LOL

  4. I love that you picked up the thread of an old love story!! It says a lot about your writing that people cared so much about what happened to the characters- so many books have good plots, but fall short on the development of the people. I am really looking forward to reading both of these, and I get to read them close together- no waiting twenty years between them for me!

    1. Thanks for the kind words about the writing. It is really amazing to me how characters will pop in and out of our heads. To me, characters drive story, so I really credit Jenny and Steve for the books. They were such strong characters the minute they first came to me, that they made the writing of the stories so much easier than some others have been.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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