If our mentions are any indication, readers love a good series! And lately, more than a few authors have been adding to a series after years without a new book, or returning to write a sequel to a story after many years away. After several seasons of working on the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood has written a sequel to her 1985 novel about a dystopian future, in which women are forced to live as concubines under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.
In another case of work in a different media generating new writing, our own Cornelia Funke returned to the world of Dragon Rider to write The Griffin’s Feather after working on the Dragon Rider project that began her collaboration with Mirada.
‘And there’s even a new J.R.R. Tolkien book, The Fall of Gondolin, which came out in 2018 and was edited by his son—almost 50 years after Tolkien’s passing. And there were seventeen years between the releases of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954)!
What leads an author to return to expand a story’s world, years later? For some, it’s that returning to that world and characters in a different medium sparks ideas or wakes up characters. For others, a new era brings new situations or ways of engaging with character; Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, which came out in 1961, engages with the midcentury horrors of war, while it’s 33-years-delayed sequel, Closing Time, came out in the 90s and touches more on the concerns of everyday life.