I recently published my suspense novel THE NEXT DOOR through the Kindle and Smashwords, and am currently working on my next suspense novel, which is completely different from the first. I think that deep down inside I worry, because I feel like I should be working on a sequel to THE NEXT DOOR while that novel is fresh in my mind. I left a certain murder case and character intentionally unresolved.
However, last night I had a dream that showed me how I can work that unresolved case and character into my new novel without making a sequel. Fortunately, that idea clung to me while I woke, because I love it and want to use it.
Sometimes I read a book and I like the author, but the characters in the book just don't interest me enough for me to run out and buy any sequels. However, I am interested in buying more books by the author. I just want a fresh story with new personalities. This idea of writing a completely different book with different characters, a different storyline, and different style, and then weaving in a couple of unresolved issues from a previous novel in a unique way excites me. It's like serving leftovers from the night before in such a well disguised manner that everyone thinks they are eating a completely different meal, and technically, they are.
THE NEXT DOOR is focused on action and information, while the novel I am working on now is more visceral with the need to employ all six senses. Yes, I mean six. It's not a typo nor a lack of education.
For those who did read the first book, they will recognize the unresolved case and character and get that sense of familiarity one gets when they run into an old friend. For those who didn't read the first book, it won't matter. The second book will still be seamless and the reader won't feel like he is sitting on the outside of some inside information. The carryover from the previous book will be minor enough that it won't feel repetitive or intrusive like an unwelcome person walking into a room and then monopolizing the conversation.
If I could carry this style of writing from book to book, it could be my signature, kind of like a computer programmer leaving virtual "Easter eggs" behind in his software or Disney placing hidden Mickey's around his amusement parks. I'm sure this is nothing new and that other authors are already utilizing the idea, but I like it as a way to loosely tie all my books in together and offer conclusions for previously open aspects of each novel.
Do you ever have solutions to problems come to you in your sleep?