March of the Sequels: D.N. Bryn

26 Mar 2023

The Author/s

D.N. Bryn

D.N. Bryn

D.N. Bryn is a queer, disabled author of speculative fiction and fantasy romance.

When not writing, they conduct infectious disease surveillance in their hometown of San Diego, where they enjoy basking in the Santa Ana winds, hiking the brush-heavy slopes, and eating too many tacos.

The Interview

First of all, tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel(s).
First off, hello and thank you! I'm an author of weird queer science-fantasy and fantasy romance, and the No-Man’s Lander series is a mix of both. It's a little genre-blending, taking 1940s technology and fashion in a steampunk-inspired world and throwing in scientifically-reimagined mythological species. The series follows Rubem, who's dragged (literally) away from his hermit life-style and monstrous pets when a highly coveted, fuel-producing parasite starts integrating itself into his body, for better or worse. While the series has a subtle overarching plotline, each book features a new adventure of mystery, murder, and monsters, as Rubem and his slowly growing family travel the world.


You can get a copy of their novels from Amazon.

Do you find that most of your readers continue to read the whole series? Why do you think that is?  
I find a direct relationship between how many people continue with a series and how quickly I can put the books out. Quite a few readers seem to be following me from one book to the next as long as they come out less than a year apart, but the wider series world that No-Man's Lander is a part of had a nearly three-year gap between its first and second book, and that second book remains my worst-selling novel to this day. My readers are also far more likely to continue a series if they feel connected to a primary character who’s life and future aren’t settled yet. And I've been told that cliff-hangers help with series read-through... I might just be trying that out here soon ;)

How difficult is it to add new characters in a sequel into already established relationships? 
Definitely a little harder, but it's a fun challenge! Each new book in the No-Man's Lander series adds one or two prominent characters to the cast, many of whom are familial, and while it's a challenge to balance how much time is allotted to integrating the new character vs deepening relationships with old ones, I think having the established relationships there is actually helpful, because they can dive right into more complex dynamics and emotions while you're slowly building the newer relationships in the background.

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? 
I'm switching locations in every book and it's STILL hard, since my magical rules and mythological species follow me! I tend to world-build as I write, so the deeper into the series I go, the more I have to constantly double-check that I'm not contradicting myself or accidently writing a plot hole into an earlier book or setting myself up for a future book's plot to no longer make sense. There's definitely a freedom you get with world-building in a standalone book that you lose with a series.

Could you tell us about your new series, How to Bite your Neighbour?
How to Bite Your Neighbor and Win a Wager is the first book in my Guides for Dating Vampires series, a group of loosely connected gay vampire romances taking place in a modern Southern Californian city where a massive pharmaceutical company is conducting unethical research on vampires. It's the kind of series where any book can be picked up as an entry-point (though there is an overarching plot-line, so later books might have minor spoilers). This has its own caveats though, because in every book the world-building has to be accessible to new readers while not feeling redundant or annoying to those who've read all the previous books.

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? 
Constantly x.x

Would you say your craft has improved with the subsequent books?
Absolutely! Growth isn't entirely linear (sometimes you knock a book out of the park and you don't know why or how to replicate it), and sometimes it comes in the form of simply being able to craft the same story faster and easier, but overall I've definitely grown as a writer with each subsequent book.

Do you have all the timeline planned for the full series?
I have some basic plot points, settings, and characters sketched out, but anything is bound to change by the time I get to it. I view my outlines as things I can fall back on if I don't come up with anything better.

Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?
Ritual sacrifice...? To be honest, I think the best way to market sequels in a series where readers have to read book one first is a combination of marketing book one more and making absolutely sure that your back matter does the best job it possibly can of making readers intrigued about book two. (I know putting your book two's first chapter or blurb at the back of book one is easy, but sometimes it works better to write up a unique one-page snippet that acts almost like a book two prologue or teaser! Whatever is there, you preferably want it to be short enough that someone coming off the end chapter high will still engage, be from the perspective of a character in the book, and have a good mix of plot intrigue and strong emotions.)