*blows dust off this blog*
Or should it be: *blows off dust from this blog*? We’ll literally never know. Three years, eh? Seems like a long time. And that’s because it is. Obviously there are other blogs than this, and I haven’t been updating those either. Consistency, that’s the key.
So, Sweetness Follows? Sweetness Drags Along Behind at the Rate of a Dead Snail That’s Trying Very Hard Not to Be Seen by Whomever It’s Following, more like. But it’s okay. I’m nearly finished it. Sort of. There are many words, at least. A lot of them are still in physical notebooks, my head, the dictionary, yes. But they at least exist at a conceptual level, and that’s more than we could have hoped for at the start of this year. And by ‘we’, I mean ‘just me’, because the rest of you are reading this and thinking ‘Ciarán who, now?’ Which is also okay.
In the beginning, back in 2011/2012, when I was young buck, full of dreams of what might be, I done an actual novelbook called The Boys of Summer. And it was aiiight. I then done another book, which ha’nt got nothing to do with the first one, but around the same time, there were samples and ideas floating about from a sort of sequel. I even put one on later editions of the first one, and you’d have have found it if you carried on reading after it said ‘The End’. You know, like those people at a Marvel movie who won’t get out of their seats until the post-credits scene, even though the staff are hoovering up popcorn from under their feet.
Back in those heady days, my idea was to create a spoilerless trilogy. Have three books related to each other that could be read in any order. Maybe even then I had an inkling that I’d take four years to publish the first sequel, and that people would have forgotten all about The Boys of Summer by then. Whatever it was, I began in earnest. One day I’ll look up what that idiom actually means, but until that day, I’ll just carry on using it. The new book was, and still is, relatively spoiler-free. You could read it now (if I’d fucking published it, but hey, maybe you’re reading this in 2018, and you’ve got an advance copy!) and still go back and enjoy the first one. But trilogies need a third part that ties everything up, and you can’t do that without referencing the past. Especially if you want to put in a silly twist about Marion Cotillard being Liam Neeson’s daughter and stuff. So I decided that part three was gonna need you to have read parts one and two. And I made my peace with it. And then I proceeded to not write either of them. Thanks, beer!
Now, in this brave new world, where it actually looks like we are going to get Sweetness Follows, I’ve junked the idea of a trilogy altogether. Turns out, I want to do five. Ambitious, I know, for a man who struggles to do… one, but we all need dreams. And now the game has changed. Much like the original Back to the Future movie (he said, with Donald Trump levels of self-aggrandising comparison), The Boys of Summer was meant to stand alone, so there are no real literary pathways out of it, to future sequels. The main character in Sweetness Follows is mentioned maybe twice, probably by accident. That’s it. And a reference to Richie’s dad playing in a band when he was younger that I definitely, definitely didn’t add in a later edition, while coming up with the plot for the next one. Definitely not.
Sweetness Follows though, is written in the full knowledge that there will be another book after it, so it’s a whole different ball game of fish kettle chess. Characters who will be the lead in later books have to be fleshed out, endeared to the reader, not killed off – it’s a complicated business. Whereas with TBoS, I put in lots of fancy foreshadowing (that you probably missed if you only read it once – WHY DID YOU ONLY READ IT ONCE, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE IN LOVE WITH ME, WHY AM I EVEN BOTHERING, I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ANYMORE, TAKE ME, JESUS, TAKE ME FROM THIS FESTERING SHELL OF A LIFE AND LIFT ME UP TO HEAVEN, WHERE I CAN MEET NANA, AND GRANDA, AND ALL THE DOGS MY MOTHER KILLED -) whereas now, I’m putting in foreshadowing for books that don’t even exist yet. That is literally how amazing I am, and shame on you for ever doubting me.
But anyway, yes. Sequel Potential, as the agents say. I’ve finally given in to it. And it’s actually quite exciting. I sort of love the Boys of Summer universe, so the idea of going back to the well multiple times is sort of comfy, and telling the stories from new points of view is challenging enough to keep it interesting. There’s nothing final yet, but there will definitely be one set at the turn of the millennium, one set in the UK, and (most exciting of all) one that jumps back to 1991, and is from the POV of someone you’d never have guessed. Not that you were guessing. Or caring. Or even thinking about it. It’s not Jimmy Savile, btw. I promise.
So, why has it taken this long? Why is it still taking this long, with even this blog being party to the procrastination? I think, scientifically speaking, it’s probably because I was supposed to write, and instead, I tried coming at it from some different and revolutionary angles. Methods included ‘not writing anything’, ‘hating myself’, ‘drinking’, ‘staring into space’, ‘watching all of 30 Rock again’, and ‘sighing’. Of course, none of these things actually helped, but in my defence, I had to try them all. Because I’m a completist. And a fucking idiot.
Thanks for reading this, guys/women/whatever you identify as. Hopefully the next time we talk, it’ll be on the review section of Amazon. I’m planning on doing lots of funny ratings for sugar free Gummi Bears, BiC women’s pens, and other stuff like that. Anything besides finishing this book.