Why Do Sequels Suck? Comparing and Contrasting the Good, the Bad and the Barftastic

Having just released a sequel, I found this very interesting….

C.B. McCullough Editing & Proofreading

Picture this. A great movie is released to critical acclaim. It dominates the box office and leaves audiences clamoring for more.  Giddy with their own success, creators comply, announcing that the next chapter is on its way. A sequel: more of what you loved—bigger, better, faster and stronger.

But somewhere along the way, something goes horribly, horribly wrong.

The road to hell seems to be paved with sequels. These books and films have the tendency to fall short of the originals or sometimes fall entirely off the map.The worst ones not only leave a sour taste in your mouth, but can actually diminish their predecessors just by association.

The obvious motivator behind sequels is money, but even if we assume every sequel ever made was concocted for purely mercenary reasons, it still can’t explain why so many are so God-awful. And it doesn’t explain why there are some…

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Eyes Wide Open by Michelle Kelly. Published by Carina UK

First review for ‘Eyes Wide Open’!!!

For the Love of Books, a Look at what's new and exciting in the world of reading

It’s been five years since DI Matt Winston solved the murder of toddler Jack Randall and he’s still suffering from the after effects. His career has stalled and his relationship with Jack’s mother Lucy is on the rocks. Jack needs to concentrate on getting his career back on the right track and begins by taking on the case of a murdered prostitute named Kitty Lewis. It’s a sad thing, but many women in these high risk jobs end up dead, it’s terrible, but it seems to go with the job. But this is no ordinary murder, Jack finds links to a pedophile ring that was supposedly destroyed a year before – the police claimed a great victory after they shut the operation down. But now it looks like they were not entirely successful and the whole thing looks to be a public relations nightmare for the police. Jack doesn’t care…

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‘Eyes Wide Open’ Exclusive Free Extract

Eyes Wide Open 30-11a

To celebrate the publication of Eyes Wide Open, sequel to the bestselling When I Wasn’t Watching, here’s a sneak peek of the Prologue…..

Coventry, 2014

My heels jab the pavement like knives. Any other girl would be balanced precariously in these boots, tottering unsteadily even without the influence of any illicit substance, but I wear mine like weapons. One of the tools of my trade.

It’s cold out tonight, the wind lashing my thighs under the hem of my ridiculously short skirt. Another tool. For practical purposes as well as image; it makes for easy access. The other women are lined up the road like soldiers, each inhabiting their own particular spot. We all look the same in the dark; interchangeable.

And then I see her. Tottering down the pavement looking lost.

From the distance she could easily be one of us; same outfit, same big hair, too much make-up. Only when she comes closer can I see that she isn’t one of us after all, that she doesn’t have that grubby hollow-eyed look about her, or any faded bruises not quite covered by cheap concealer, or tell-tale marks in the crook of her arm. And anyway, it’s her walk that gives her away. She looks like she’s going somewhere.

I don’t know why I do it. The other girls are looking at this stranger in our ranks as if she might be a threat, a new worker trying to find a patch, or as if she could be prey, with a well-padded purse to plunder. There’s no reason for me to care.

Yet I go up to her, smiling in a way that I hope looks friendly.

Got a fag?’ I say, in my most non-threatening manner. She looks at me, her eyes a little unfocused, swaying on her part-time stilettos. Her lips are glossy, her teeth white and even. If I was in any doubt, the teeth give it away. None of us have teeth like that.

She reaches into her bag and pulls out a half empty packet of fags and a lighter.

Are you OK?’ I ask. She looks at me in surprise, then looks around and frowns. I see a light dawn in her eyes as she takes in her surroundings and the faces looking at her. She takes a step back, the fag packet still held out in front of her. I take one before she changes her mind.

I was looking for the taxi rank,’ she says.

It’s back that way,’ I wave my arm vaguely. She doesn’t take the cue to leave but just stands there staring, then passes me her lighter. I light my fag, glancing back over my shoulder to see the others looking in our direction, having all moved a little closer together. Them and us. I belong over there. Yet something in the girl’s face gives me an urge to make sure she really is okay. There is something unsullied about her, in spite of the condoms in her bag and the smell of cheap wine coming off her.

A car crawls past, its headlights sweeping over me, and I wonder what she sees in its lights. It carries on, equally slowly, and I don’t need to look back over my shoulder to know that the others will have stood to attention, forgetting about us for the moment. I make my decision.

Come on, I’ll show you the way to the taxi rank.’ I walk past her and she follows me, falling into step so that we’re walking side by side, both in our short skirts, pulling on our cigarettes. Normal girls.

She keeps giving me little sideways glances, both nervous yet curious. Like she wants to ask questions but is worried I might turn on her, steal her handbag and pretty jewellery and disappear into the shadows with the others, who will of course have seen and heard nothing. On another night that might be my intention but for reasons I can’t explain, that’s not the case tonight.

I don’t know my way around here,’ she says unnecessarily, then more surprisingly, ‘I’ve not been out clubbing before.’

Why are you on your own?’ I shouldn’t ask, shouldn’t get involved, but I find myself wanting to know.

My friend Hazel left me. She went off with some guy.’

Shit friend,’ I say. She nods.

Then she starts to talk, and we stop walking for a bit and I listen. I’m good at listening, always have been, but the things she tells me I’m not expecting. It feels like the night is listening too, the very air holding it’s breath to hear the rest of the story, and I almost want to interrupt her and move her on. I’m losing money playing counsellor.

But I don’t. I listen, and the night listens with me, and for a moment I really wish I could help her, but I can’t. It’s not such an unusual story, really, just a terrible one, and I realise that in spite of the posh shoes and the shiny teeth she’s a lot like me, more so than I thought. Maybe not-so-normal girls after all.

I tell her, a bit. I tell her, ‘Me, too,’ and she just nods, like she kind of expected it. Well, let’s face it, I’m not selling my cute little ass on cold street corners ‘cos my life is all moonlight and roses am I? Then we stop talking and just walk in silence for a little while. I feel like I know her now, and almost don’t want to watch her go. I think about what she’s going back to,that life so different and yet not so different from mine, and I don’t know if I’m jealous of her or terrified for her.

But I don’t say any of that. We get to the end of the road that will lead her back to the taxis and I point out the way.

You’ll be okay from here.’

Thank you.’ She looks like she means it, her eyes all wide and grateful, like a rescued puppy. I shrug. It’s no big deal.

Then her face crumples a little.

My dad’s going to kill me,’ she says, ‘I’ve got school tomorrow.’

I try not to laugh. I dropped out of school last year. I would have been taking exams this summer.

I walk quickly back to my spot, heels jabbing at the pavement. I’ve still got her lighter. I pause, about to run back and give it to her, then shrug and put it in my pocket. It might come in handy. I get the vague feeling I might see her again one day.

In fact, it’s the last time I see her. Alive, anyway.

Do sales figures determine your self-esteem as a writer?

When I Wasnt Watching  Eyes Wide Open 30-11a

Last October, When I Wasn’t Watching went to number one in the UK, US and Australian Crime charts, and number 5 overall. It sold tens of thousands copies, and is still going. Obviously I was thrilled, and did and do feel incredibly grateful. It was a dream come true, something I’ve longed for since I was a small child. I was a bestselling author!!!

I’m not in any way negating how wonderful this is – but I have noticed something rather worrying. The sequel to WIWW, Eyes Wide Open, has just been released. While there’s no reason to expect it not to do at least reasonably well, given the success of the first, I find myself suddenly incredibly anxious. What if it doesn’t sell? What if it sells, but not as well as the first? What if I never get another bestseller? Will my career be over? Aren’t you ever only as good as your last book?

At first, I put this anxiety down to the fear that any full-time writer will know only too well – financial insecurity. Sooner or later, unless you keep churning out successful work, the money runs out. Even multi-million selling Paulo Coelho has admitted that if it was about the money, then he’d be doing something else. As soon as you start writing for profit and not just for pleasure, it provokes natural financial worry.

But then I realised that wasn’t it. Not all of it, anyway. Somewhere along the way over the past seven months, I’ve started thinking of myself not just as ‘a writer’ which has long felt like an integral part of my identity, but as ‘a bestselling author’. And I’ve started to let it define me in some way. So the thought of my latest novel not doing as well is hitting me right where it hurts – not just in my pocket, but my pride. All of a sudden, I’m letting my self-worth be dictated by my sales figures. My writing is no longer just about the writing itself, but how my writing is received. Whether other people think it’s ‘good.’ Whether it achieves a certain chart position. And I miss the days when I just wrote for the love of writing.

Do any other authors feel like this? I would love to know…

When I wasn’t watching by Michelle Kelly. Published by Carina UK

Lovely review of ‘When I Wasn’t Watching’

For the Love of Books, a Look at what's new and exciting in the world of reading

Lucy’s son was kidnapped and viscously murdered by 14 year old Terry Prince 8 years ago. Now Prince is being released, with a new identity. No one, except authorities will know where he is. Since her son’s body was discovered, Lucy has withdrawn into herself, barely reacting when her husband leaves her for another woman. But now that Prince is out, Lucy’s anger and desire for justice awaken with ferocity. She is joined by DI Matt Winston, the police detective who found her son and arrested Prince. United in their need for justice as well as their growing attraction, their efforts go into overdrive when another child goes missing.
Michelle Kelly is one of the best crime drama writers I have come across. Readers will cheer Lucy on in her pursuit of justice. An outstanding read

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