Guest Post with Author, Karyn Henley
Written by
March 2013
Written by
March 2013

A Writer's Eye View of Sequels

Only twice have I wanted to throw a novel across the room. Both times I was reading the first book in a series, and the ending came to an abrupt, screeching halt. I turned the page and . . . nothing. That was it. I was incensed. Even in a continuing saga, I want each book to yield a satisfying end, one that leaves me with some sense of closure, a plateau I can rest on until the next book comes out. But with these two books . . . nada. Grrr.   

Not all series novels face the "ending" challenge. With independent novels in a series, each book completes a story. You can read them in any order. They're a series because they're about the same character(s), the same world, or both. Many series mysteries are made of independent novels. Think Agatha Christie's Poirot or Miss Marple stories.

Loosely tied sequels are similar. Like independents, each novel is a complete story. Unlike independents, the books follow a definite time line. In Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series, readers follow Ged as he grows up, becomes a wizard, and then grows old. But each book is a story complete in itself.

It's the third type of series that has the "ending" challenge. Each novel is strongly tied to the previous book, depends on it, springs from it. The Twilight series, the Hunger Games, and my own Angelaeon Circle novels follow this pattern. Because I feel strongly that each sequel in a dependent series should be strong in its own right, I tried to sculpt my trilogy so readers could understand and enjoy each novel on its own without reading the previous book(s), although the big story takes three novels to tell. But I don't want readers to throw my books across the room, so I tried to create a satisfying closure for each novel while leaving the main conflict open until the end of the third.  

Endings are only one challenge to writing a series. Continuity is by far the most obvious challenge – keeping up with details from one book to the next. What color were her eyes? When did they meet? How did I describe his house? Another challenge is story layers and subplots. Which should I resolve in one book? Which should I weave into the following book? This is especially difficult in a large fantasy world where not even the sky is the limit. Then there's the challenge all writers face: improving with each novel. No reader wants to be disappointed with a sequel that's not as good as the previous book. And no writer wants to disappoint.

Sequels are popular these days. As a writer of a series, I'm committed to taking you on an amazing, extended journey that's well worth your time. If I've done my job, yours is to relax, sit back, and enjoy. And I hope you do.   


Karyn Henley
Author Biography

Award-winning author Karyn Henley has written more than 100 titles, including a mix of children’s books and articles; parent-teacher books, articles, and curricula; and preschool musicals and CD’s/DVD’s of original music for children. Karyn revitalized the category of children's Bibles when she wrote the original The Beginner's Bible, which sold over five million copies and was translated into seventeen languages.

Venturing into the young adult market, Karyn’s first book of The Angelaeon CircleBreath of Angel, hit bookshelves in June 2011 from WaterBook Press (Random House), followed by Eye of the Sword March 2012. She releases the final planned installment of the fantasy trilogy, Throat of the Night, just one year later.

An accomplished songwriter, Karyn has been a Dove Award nominee and received a regional Emmy Award as Music Composer for a Christmas television special. She has traveled worldwide speaking to parents and teachers about child development and communication with children and teens, as well as entertaining children and their families in storytelling/active movement sessions and concerts.

A graduate of Abilene Christian University (BSEd), Karyn received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004.

Karyn lives in Nashville, Tennessee.


Twitter: @KarynHenley

Facebook: Karyn Henley


Book 1 of The Angelaeon Circle

“The stranger’s cloak fell back, and with it, a long, white blood-stained wing.”

Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of an emaciated stranger in the temple courtyard. Just after she discovers wings on the stranger, the murderer enters the temple, and what Melaia has known only through song and story suddenly takes on flesh. Angels and shape-shifters were myths and stories . . . until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm.  When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of wandering angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt, the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

Book 2:  Eye of the Sword, March 13, 2012

Book 3:  Throat of the Night, March 12, 2013

Book 2 of The Angelaeon Circle

To prove himself worthy of a princess, Trevin must first defeat the terror of his past.

In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the king sends Trevin on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains, he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince.

Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Challenged to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the terror-dream that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?

Book 1:  Breath of Angel, June 21, 2011

Book 3:  Throat of the Night, March 12, 2013

Book 3 of The Angelaeon Circle

Lies, Deceit, Kidnapping, Treason.

When friends can’t be trusted and courage becomes costly, can Melaia and Trevin trust their love to hold?

Melaia sends Trevin into enemy territory to retrieve the third harp she needs to restore the stairway to heaven and free the angels trapped in a human world. But an assailant wants Trevin dead, an unknown traitor is passing information to the invading enemy army, and the Firstborn immortal has vowed to destroy all three harps, along with anyone who stands in his way.

Separated, Trevin and Melaia try to keep their faith, hope, and love for each other alive. From the land of Windwing horses to the mountaintop lookouts of Stargazers, from the blight-ridden fields of the Camrithian homeland to the night-dark caverns of the Under-Realm, they face the ultimate test: What are they willing to sacrifice to restore the stairway and save their world? Will they lay aside their love for each other? Will they give up their future together?

Book 1:  Breath of Angel, June 21, 2011

Book 2:  Eye of the Sword, March 13, 2012

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