Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgivable betrayal.
That is the premise of author Laura Pearson’s second novel, Nobody’s Wife. Pearson follows up her stunningly beautiful 2018 debut book, Missing Pieces, with a completely different story about two sisters, Emily and Josephine, who have always shared everything. But change is inevitable. Emily has the perfect wedding. Josephine finds the perfect man. But they are utterly unprepared for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.
I’m delighted to welcome Pearson back to Colloquium to discuss the anticipation of having a second novel published, particularly on the heels of the staggering success of her debut work, Missing Pieces.
Sending Your Second Novel into the World
There’s nothing quite like the mix of anxiety and excitement you feel when your first novel is published. Until, that is, your second one comes out. Second time around, it’s just as exciting and just as scary, too. But it is different in a number of ways, both good and bad.
1. You know what to expect
In theory, you know what’s coming. However, my first publishing experience was such a whirlwind that I have found myself asking my team a lot of questions that I should probably have remembered the answers to. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Overall, though, you know how it works. You know what a blog tour is. You know what will be expected of you. You know there will be good and bad reviews. You know that you’ll spend publication day glued to Amazon, checking your ranking and any reviews that come in.
2. You’re scared that your book will be compared to your debut and found lacking
I was so lucky with the reception I got for my debut, Missing Pieces. People really seemed to take my characters into their hearts, and I had a lot of gorgeous reviews and people saying they couldn’t wait to read my next book. Fast forward a few months and my second book is ready to go out. And I’m scared. It’s a totally different book, and people who liked Missing Pieces might not like this one. Last time, they had nothing to compare my work to. This time, they do. You might have heard of bands having “difficult second albums.” It’s the same for authors.
3. You’re a little bit tougher
As Rod Stewart wisely said: the first cut is the deepest. The first one-star review you get hurts the most, and by the time you’re on book two, you’re an old hand at receiving criticism with good grace and humor. You have to have a thick skin to be a writer – we’ve all been through loads of rejection and had our beloved work pulled to pieces, but there’s no doubt that you’re super vulnerable when your first book is available for the first time. Having said that, different books mean different things to different people, and each book is special. I’m tougher than I was last time, but I’ve no doubt I’ll have a little cry about someone’s reaction to my book baby.
4. Other people in your life are a bit less excited
When you write a book and someone publishes it, everyone is really excited for you. Many people I went to school or university with, or once worked with, bought my first book. But then when you write another one, you don’t get quite the same reaction. Ah, they probably think, she’s just going to keep on writing those books, is she? Well, I can’t buy them all! For me, every book is a huge achievement, so I’m going to go on shouting about them and celebrating them, and I hope they’ll all find readers who love them too.
Laura Pearson holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She lives in Leicestershire, England with her husband and their two children, Joseph and Elodie.
Missing Pieces, her debut novel, was published in 2018 and garnered outstanding reviews. For instance, Sarah Pinborough, author of Behind Her Eyes, called it “a stunningly assured debut that explores the ripples of a terrible family tragedy on the surviving fragile members. Beautifully written and surprisingly life-affirming.” I observed that Pearson deftly explores her “characters’ responses to the sudden tragic death of a young child with compassion, credibility, and depth, sans melodrama or plot contrivance.” And found Missing Pieces a beautifully crafted story about a family struggling to survive an unthinkable event.”
Thank you, Laura!
My reviews of Laura Pearson’s books:
Other guest posts by Laura Pearson: