When I wrote my first book, For the Love of Jazz, I never imaged readers would fall in love with the ghosts, but they did and it inspired me to write a prequel to tell Lola and William’s story.
I started the original story over 10 years ago as a time travel novel with the heroine from the future and the hero in the past before the story morphed into the final published book. While preparing the story for an online writing class, the genre changed from time travel to romantic suspense. The main characters became ghosts, and the book shifted from William and Lola to Patrick and Josie’s story. The transition was easy since Patrick and Josie knew exactly how they wanted their story told and weren’t afraid to keep me up late at nights telling me.
I decided to write the prequel Persuading Lola for new readers to enjoy a sample my writing, and for existing fans to learn about William and Lola’s beautiful and inspiring love story which is set in a time (1950s) when interracial relationships were not accepted and illegal in most parts of the US.
While I thoroughly enjoyed writing Will and Lola’s story, I ran into challenges I didn’t expect.
I wanted a title that fit both books, and tried to link them by using the same words, only changing them slightly. I came up with For the Love of Lola, but Lola insisted she wanted a special title. Who was I to argue? Only the author. So, after much brainstorming, I settled on Persuading Lola. Thankfully, Lola gave the final title a thumbs up.
For the Love of Jazz was traditionally published while Persuading Lola isn’t. I had a clear idea for the cover, but it clashed with the first book, so I decided to tone down the color instead of trying to match them, which didn’t work. While I cringe when the two books are put side by side, I’m thrilled with the cover and think (fingers crossed) it will WOW readers.
For the Love of Jazz is romantic suspense and while Persuading Lola has elements of suspense weaved within the story, it’s not packed with the same level of mystery and intrigue. The main character in For the Love of Jazz, Josie, is trying to solve a 50 year-old murder mystery, while Lola is facing conflict that comes with pursing an interracial relationship in the 50s. Her conflict leads me to the next challenge. The story.
I struggled with how much to reveal in Persuading Lola without giving away crucial clues of the plot in For the Love of Jazz, including the killer’s identity. Most of the characters are in both books and how I depicted their actions depended on keeping them as suspects. While readers who read For the Love of Jazz first would know the difference, I wanted to keep a certain amount of mystery for readers who hadn’t.
Even with the challenges of writing Persuading Lola, I’m thrilled with the outcome. So tell me, would you rather read a prequel and learn how the stories you love started or discover what happens after the end?
Persuading Lola is out next month. I hope you enjoy reading how Lola and William met and fell in love and the obstacles they overcame to be together. If you haven’t read FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ, please grab a copy and fall in love with the characters.