How E.J. Noyes’ “Ask, Tell” sequel “Ask Me Again” came to be

I never intended to publish this book, or honestly, even let anyone read it if I managed to finish it. Why write a book for nobody? Because sometimes, you just gotta write. Truthfully, the only reason I started writing this one was that I missed my characters so much, and in the way of a lovesick author – I could not let them go. A few weeks after I finished what I thought was the final draft of my debut, Ask, Tell (ha-ha, it was anything but the final draft) and left it to age like wine or whatever, I began the sequel. I wrote obsessively, like a teen in a dark bedroom hunched over a notepad scribbling about their first crush.

Sabine & Rebecca

TRU LUV 4 EVA

-Carefully trace a heart around it-

-Fill page with x’s & o’s and combinations of hyphenated surnames-

But, E. J.! You said you weren’t going to publish it and here I am reading a little post about this book because it’s about to be published! What gives? Okay yep, you’re right, guilty as charged. Why did I cave? Because people asked if there was a sequel and I’m really bad at moderating what comes out of my mouth (or fingertips) and I said, “Yes there is! But it’s a bit weird and kind of sad because of PTSD and stuff so it’s hiding in a folder on my computer.”

Talking to people about the sequel made me think that maybe I could or should turn the mess into something readable because maybe people wanted to know what happens next. I could change some plot stuff, adjust the setting…make it less sad? Yes! But still not not sad because a major part of this novel is a mental health issue and how that affects not only the person with PTSD but those who love them. Anyhoo, I won’t bore you with the intimate details of my “Writer’s Journey” for this one, but I will bore you with a couple of facts.

Fact one: When I put my writing pants on, I’m a first person junkie, so all of my work to this point has been a single point of view. But Ask Me Again practically begged to have both women tell their side of the story. I agreed.

Which leads to…

Fact two: I’m an inhabitive writer (is that even a term or real word?). What I mean is that when I’m writing I’m firmly in the mind of the character, experiencing what they are. My wife says I make faces when I write, which I realized was me writing dialogue and basically having a back and forth conversation with myself…bit weird in public. Writing a novel where I’m—oh, this sounds creepy—living as both characters was pretty awesome.

Which leads to… (Seeing a theme here?)

Fact three: I’m a frenetic, random writer. I don’t plan anything. I don’t write anything in order, but instead, write random scenes as they come to me and then slowly join them up. Most of the time this is great, except for when I write myself into a corner and get attached to things that totally don’t work. When else is it also not so great? When you have ideas for one character, and then midway through that, your brain flips to another character. Still, writing this dual point of view was awesome, if not incredibly challenging. And of course, now I’ve mastered dual points of view, it’s time to master writing in the third person. Ha! Kidding. Let’s not get crazy.

So…can you read ‘Ask Me Again’ without reading ‘Ask, Tell’? Of course, you can! You can do anything you want! But I don’t think you should. I don’t just say that as a lovesick author who wants everyone to know everything about her characters. I say that as a person who loves reading, and who personally loves to know as much as possible about a character’s journey. And although in the beginning this particular journey was written for me only, I’m so very pleased that it changed course and now I’ll be sharing it with you.

Ask Me Again comes out this Thursday.

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