March of the Sequels: Christer Lende

24 Mar 2023

The Author/s

Christer Lende

Christer Lende

Christer Lende began writing in a library, which sounds fitting, only he was supposed to be there working on his engineering degree. He is a professional screenwriter, working with the Norwegian movie producer behind “One Love”, “Who Killed Birgitte” and “All about my Father” Bjørn Eivind Aarskog, together they are eveloping the manuscript for a Norwegian thriller. Bjørn hired Christer after reading The Beast Hunters, trusting Christer could bring his vision to life.

Christer lives in what Norwegians call a city, but people from actual cities would call a town. Of proud Viking blood, he honours his ancestors by heroically sitting in front of a computer writing Fantasy and Science Fiction books. He believes in writing a little bit every day, through weekends, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and even his own birthday. When he’s not writing, he takes care of his two dogs and tries to broker peace with his girlfriend. He’s often found at a gym, trying to compensate for his height issues, or lazily playing video games.

Christer did get that master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, despite procrastinating by writing fiction in the library, and works for a large IT firm, but writing and storytelling are his passions

The Interview

First of all, tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel(s).
The Beast Hunter of Ashbourn series is a fun, yet daring, story about a young woman who loses everything, but finds a new life in the chaos. She becomes a beast hunter apprentice and embarks on her first case with her beast hunter mentors.
Naturally, the case reveals itself to be something way greater than they first thought, and in the end, she ends up a somewhat changed person, both in mind and body. She learns to trust again, and starts building a new family. She’s also been afflicted by some new kind of beast, grating her with some unknown power, and a whispering voice in her head.
That’s where the first book ends, while the second and third build onto this. The group ends up in Ashbourn, a massive city, that’s at the end of its election of a new king. The beast hunters get mixed up in this process as they find evidence one of the candidates isn’t who he says he is—and even seem connected to what happened to Ara in book 1. It all explodes out of control, and the Ara might be the only thing that can save Ashbourn before it’s swallowed in ancient darkness.


You can get copies from this link.

Do you find that most of your readers continue to read the whole series? Why do you think that is? 
This is hard to say.  I have more sales of book 1 than book 2, so it’s for sure that not 100% of people go on to read book 2, but it’s also not clear how many that have bought book 1 that have actually read it yet. If I go by the people I talk to, then it seems almost 100% of people go on to the second book (which of course isn’t true).
But I think a lot of people want to go on and read the sequels, because at the end of book 1, one mystery ends, but a larger one persists. I also think a lot of readers fall in love with the found family Ara gets, and their banter and fun tone in a somber world, so they want the second book to get more of it.

How difficult is it to add new characters in a sequel into already established relationships? 
It didn’t feel that difficult if I remember correctly. I think I had a lot of fun with it, so when Khendric’s(one of the two beast hunter mentors) on-and-off-again girlfriend shows up, Ara is mostly intrigued and interested. And their dynamic is so fun too, knowing when to be playful and when to be serious.
Adding new characters might to some extent even be easier in sequels, because you can go back to what’s safe after reading about someone new. And then you get to weave previous and new characters together. I love the bigger ensemble of characters in the second and third books, because then there’s more you can show as an author. More things that’s going on, and more viewpoints.

Is it difficult to continue with worldbuilding for a world you have already built in book 1?  Do you find it easier to switch locations for the sequel and start again with worldbuilding? 
Hmm, tough question. I found it a little bit more difficult as book 2 is quite story-driven, and there isn’t as much room for the same kind of exploration. I realized that I had too few beasts in the story, and had to go back and find some places where I could add them organically. It gave the book the lift it needed to create a vibrant world. I also had more trouble getting beasts into a large city, which is where books 2 and 3 take place. In book 1, it happened in a little village, which is closer to resembling the land where most beasts live. In the city it was a little harder, but I think I did it well.
In the final book, the story sort of takes over, and there isn’t much time for beast exploration, simply because the threat they’re facing never sleeps, and is all-consuming. It wouldn’t feel real if they took some time off to look for monsters and beasts, but perhaps there’s a better way to solve that? 

The Beast Hunters got recently an award. How did you feel about it? Do you plan to enter into more contests?
Aaaah, it felt . . . so incredible. I mean, oh my god, I danced around while walking my dogs when I found out. I definitely want to feel like that more, but I might never win an award again. I have entered more contests with book 1 and the whole trilogy, and we’ll see how it all goes.

Have you ever been stymied by a worldbuilding or plot detail from book 1 that is very inconvenient to deal with or write your way around in subsequent books? 
Unknowingly, I did something really smart: I wrote the whole trilogy without publishing any of them first, so I could go back and change whatever I needed. This was seriously so smart, and something I recommend to all authors. I know it’s the boring way, because once you’re done with a book you want to get it out.

Would you say your craft has improved with the subsequent books?
So much, and apparently people can tell too. Book 1 is almost the first thing I wrote, and things get better for book 2 by a lot. And the writing is even better in the next series I’m giving out.

Do you have all the timeline planned for the full series?
Out already.

Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?
Yes, do a shitton of marketing because I didn’t, and it could have been a lot better.