March of the Sequels: H.C. Newell

20 Mar 2023

The Author/s

H.C. Newell

H.C. Newell

H.C. Newell is an American best-selling author of epic fantasy. She is best known for the Fallen Light fictional universe, in which her fantasy novel Curse of the Fallen, is set. Newell's works have been compared by readers to authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, Andrejz Sapkowski, and Robert Jordan among others. Newell lives in Nashville, TN with her husband.

The Interview

First of all, tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel(s).
My series follows a sorceress named Nerana who is persecuted for her magic. This is about her journey of freedom, strength, and revenge against those who have cast her aside. The sequels introduce an entirely new cast of characters, including another sorceress, Aella, who is viewed as a savior for her magical blood. They come together to embark on this journey of sacrifice, loyalty, forgiveness, and power.
My novella, The Banished, follows the characters from book one who aren’t in book two. It takes place during the events of book two and shows their journey, which connects directly to Neer and her path.


Do you find that most of your readers continue to read the whole series? Why do you think that is?  
There are many people who love Curse of the Fallen, but never seem to get to Forbidden Realms (sequel) I don’t think this is due to a lack of interest, but to an overwhelming TBR with hundreds of amazing, new books to read!

How difficult is it to add new characters in a sequel into already established relationships? 
For me, it wasn’t very hard. Book one follows Neer, and we are introduced to her story and the characters that help her along the way. Book two continues to follow Neer, but she’s thrown into a new journey with entirely new characters that are connected to book one characters, so it was really fun for me to weave their stories together. Book three will have them all come together. I really like the idea of introducing characters before they’re fully integrated into the story, as that’s how life can work sometimes. We have established characters from the beginning, some who show up in chapter 3 and then make their official debut in chapter 30, and then others who aren’t in certain books at all because life has taken them elsewhere.

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? 
Every book is in a different part of the world (except 3, which was divided into two books because of how expansive the elven forest arc will be) but I found it really easy to go from country to country and introduce new cultures, races, beliefs, and environments as opposed to staying in one location and trying to keep it fresh and original. You can only do so much with one area of the world.

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? 
I write my way around it mostly. There were some plot holes that I found which were minor, but I keep detailed notebooks of everything so that I don’t forget or misuse something (Even stuff like the color of potions is logged, because I don’t want a clear health potion in book one that’s suddenly green in book 3. Those things may not matter to readers, but consistency is extremely important to me) But sometimes I get a nice surprise and find that the details I wrote with no real meaning turn out to be unplanned foreshadowing! Those are always fun to find because it makes it look like I had things planned for much longer than I actually did lol!! 

Would you say your craft has improved with the subsequent books?
I try to improve my writing with every book, and I can confidently say that book 3 is the best thing I’ve ever written. I’m so proud of it!!

Do you have all the timeline planned for the full series?
I want to publish a book every year until the series is complete, with novellas published six months after each main novel in the series. I will never rush myself to finish, so I don’t set firm dates on anything until it’s all done and I know there will be no delays. :) 

Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?
I think the best way to get your sequels into hands is to continue to market your first book. Sequels are great, but until they read book one they aren’t touching book two! People need to be invested in you and your story before they purchase and read your sequel. I’m no pro, so I really shouldn’t be giving any kind of advice, but that’s what I think is most effective.