Throughout April, I’m tackling 26 A to Z topics related to children’s literature. Today is a three-prong topic: Standalones, sequels, and series. Can you guess today’s letter? Huzzah for alliteration!
Breaking the news to my nieces, Sarah and Katy, that there wouldn’t be a third installment of the Sarah & Katy adventures in the foreseeable future wasn’t an easy task.
Mostly because I don’t think they believe me.
In 2014, I wrote “Sarah & Katy and the Imagination Blankets,” basing the titular characters on them. Initially, “Imagination Blankets” was going to be a standalone book. At my nieces’ urging, I wrote the companion book “Sarah & Katy and the Book of Blank.”
I hesitate to call “Book of Blank” a sequel. After all, it sort of picks up where “Imagination Blankets” left off, but it has a different style. Whereas “Book of Blank” is one consecutive adventure, start to finish, “Imagination Blankets” featured four different adventures in one book. And it doesn’t matter which book a reader picks up first. Both would make sense in either order, and both can stand by themselves.
Also, there really aren’t any crossover characters between the two books other than Sarah and Katy. And neither book acknowledges the adventures in the other one. Hence why I refer to it as the companion book.
I deliberately avoided setting myself up for a series with the Sarah & Katy books. I wasn’t ready to lock myself in to a long-term writing project (well, longer-term than writing a book already is) when I had other books in the back of my mind nagging to be written.
For the next few projects, I’m focusing on standalone middle grade novels, starting with my work-in-progress, “The Mountain of Dempsey Molehill.” There are more in store, though, including an early reader chapter book about a lie that keeps growing and growing, and a book inspired by my junior high bus route. (Did you know it’s possible to have a snowball fight on a school bus? It is, and that’s going to work its way into that book.)
(Meanwhile, Sarah, Katy, and their friends haven’t given up hope that future installments of the Sarah & Katy adventures will be forthcoming. But just in case, they have a contingency plan. They’ve started writing their own Sarah & Katy stories.)