I had lunch with a fellow author a while back, and she had come to the end of two series contracts, having written six books. She was in the position of starting over, sort of, and wrestling with the question: What next?

It's one that writers face at the end of a book or a series, unless there's a series so popular that the public won't let it end. I heard Martha Grimes speak on that, and it's a problem of a different kind, but today I'm thinking of the "What's next?" aspect. Do you write something totally different? My friend was thinking of switching sub-genres and trying paranormal, but I'm guessing whatever she writes will have a comedic slant.

If we stick with our original themes, will the next book(s) be too much like the first, making them boring to write, maybe boring to read? Publishers are notorious for wanting more of the same from successful authors, but I've heard enough authors speak lovingly about their stand-alones to know that they long to write what appeals to them at the moment, not just what will sell in this year's market.

In a perfect world, a good story would be successful, no matter whose name was on it. I know the world isn't perfect, but one hopes that good writers will somehow get the chance to tell the stories they want to tell.

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