I’m one of those people who, when going to a restaurant that I’ve been to before, almost always orders whatever I had the last time I was there. If it’s Cup and Saucer, it will be the World Famous Garden Scramble with seasoned tofu, no cheese, and a scone. When I think about that restaurant, I’m already remembering what that particular meal tastes like, and how delicious it was last time. I am, in other words, setting myself up for repeating that experience as closely as possible.
But what if the cook at Cup and Saucer has something else to show me, breakfast-wise? What if I’d like it even better than my current standby? How am I going to know, if I never branch out?
I think for a lot of us, sequels and series are like That One Thing We Always Get at restaurants. We latch onto something in a book — a character, a setting, the rhythm of the writer’s prose, the way magic works or doesn’t. And then we want to experience it again. And again.
I totally get that, as a reader. (And, clearly, as a diner.)
But as a writer, I want to mix it up. I want to tell different kinds of stories in different ways. And yes, I also want to write new stories where characters I’ve already created show up — but maybe not in the ways, or the roles, that readers were expecting.
Which is a long setup for me to say two things: first, that I’m so grateful to the readers who’ve been willing to order The Rules for Hearts, even though I didn’t make the same dish that you enjoyed last time, and second, that as interested as I am — along with much of the rest of the world — in what happens to Harry & Co., I’m even more interested to see what Ms. Rowling writes next.
Y’all: what writers do you like who work in different genres/styles/etc.?