GUEST POST by KAREN STIVALI
A lot of people have asked me why I opted to write a sequel to Meant To Be. The answer is simple. I wasn’t done yet. Meant To Be is the story about how Daniel and Marienne met and fell in love, but in many ways the ending is just a beginning.
When I finished writing Meant To Be I sent it off to agents and editors. It’s thought to be a huge no-no to write a sequel to a book you haven’t sold/placed yet, but I did it anyway. The characters were still talking in my head. I had so much more of their story to tell. It took them so long to finally get together that I had to watch what happened once they did.
As luck would have it, the publisher who picked up Meant To Be has a unique imprint called After Happily Ever. That line of stories is all geared to either romance or women’s fiction that explore what happens after the couple says “I do.” It was serendipity that I had already written the after happily ever story for Daniel and Marienne. They signed Holding On right away.
So many novels (women’s fiction, romance, chick lit) tell the story of how a couple gets together. Not that many go on to tell the reader what happens after they’re a couple. Personally, when I read a book and the couple is together at the end I always wonder, then what happened? I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to explore that in Holding On.
I’m very glad I wrote “the rest of the story” but even with two entire books, I’m not done writing these characters. There is a short story in the Foreign Affairs anthology that is a prequel to Meant To Be. That story, All I Need, shows how Daniel wound up marrying his first wife, Justine. Another short story will appear in the upcoming Turquoise Morning Press Wedding Anthology. That story, White Wedding, takes place between Meant To Be and Holding On and lets the reader watch Daniel and Marienne’s wedding story.
In addition to those shorts I’ll have a new novel out that contains these same characters. Just In Time, due out January 26, 2014 is Justine’s story (and yes, Daniel and Marienne will also play a role in it). I wouldn’t rule out a third book that’s just about Daniel and Marienne, either. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to say I’m totally done writing them. I’d miss them too much. And, if anyone is interested in more glimpses of these characters in the meantime, stay tuned to my blog. There will be a new section of free reads coming soon so expect to see letters, IM conversations and short stories that don’t appear in any of the books.
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.
Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic love stories filled with sarcasm and sexy details.
Karen has published three erotic romances with Ellora’s Cave: Marry Me (June 2012), Long-Distance Lovers (co-written with Karen Booth, March 2012) and Always You (Passionate Plume First Place Novella Winner, RWA 2012).
Karen’s women’s fiction stories, published with Turquoise Morning Press, include Meant To Be (August 2012) and its sequel Holding On (November 2012). Both full length novels are currently available in e-book and paperback. A prequel to these novels, the short story All I Need, appears in the Foreign Affairs Anthology (August 2012). Another short story, White Wedding, which takes place between Meant To Be and Holding On, will be in an anthology due out in June 2013.
Also coming in 2013 Karen will have two contemporary romances releasing from Samhain Publishing.The first of these, THEN, AGAIN is due out on May 23, 2013. LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON will be out in November/December 2013. A new erotic romance novella will release from Ellora’s Cave in Spring 2013 and JUST IN TIME, a follow-up to Meant To Be and Holding On that will focus on Justine, will release from Turquoise Morning in January 2014.