Monday, May 20, 2013

Can We Love Our Second Children As Much?

One of my very first blogger buddies was Hart Johnson. We have Oregon and writing in common and as I got to know her through comments and blog posts, I realized we also have slightly wacky senses of humor in common too...which is why I'm so excited to have her here today to help celebrate and promote her cozy mystery, The Begonia Bribe. I read The Azalea Assault in, like, a day and I'm setting aside a summer day for The Begonia Bribe too.


So you know how when you have a baby you are clueless? You make tons of mistakes, and are totally paranoid and practice CONSTANT VIGILANCE and every single BEST PRACTICE so your baby will be perfect... or as perfect as it's possible to be, considering you are CLUELESS and trying to parent from a BOOK...

And then you have a second baby, and you figure, I'm an old pro. I've done this before. I've GOT THIS.

And then your second child is totally opposite your first, and the tricks learned the first time don't work. And the advice you'd learned to ignore because it DIDN'T work is now what you need to do... And your first child suffers for lack of attention and jealousy...

It's like that...

While my books in the Garden Society Mystery series were technically written 7th and 9th, they were the first and second published, respectively... And MAN, am I going through second time mom syndrome... I'm all relaxed when I ought to be panicking, totally forgetting certain details... And I'm embarrassed to shout to the world HELLO!!! I know you gave me the FABULOUS gift of love and support a year ago, but I need it again!!! Pretty please! And things that I did and were unnecessary the first time, I skipped and totally should have done this time around... The Begonia Bribe is definitely going to need YEARS of therapy.

And all the while, I can't help comparing my children... the first was so perky and personable... she got right out there in people's faces—on a Barnes and Noble TOWER in the peak book buying month—and I got pictures of her all over the world being held by various friends... This second child seems just a little slow to warm up. I'm not sure what to do about that. Maybe she resents that I didn't eat as carefully or watch my weight as well during my pregnancy.

Erm... okay, so that strains the metaphor a bit...

She's still on a tower... so that's something. But not nearly as many shipped. Oh, I know... it has to do with how many SOLD the first time—they are trying to match better, but I'm worried it will give her an inferiority complex!

And all in all, I ALSO had a much harder time getting this book written... second in a series... how much do I retell? What portion of readers will read the first first so they know already? What portion will read them out of order so I have to watch out for spoilers? Because these are in ORDER, but the murders stand alone... so the only REAL spoilers that matter are who died and who killed them. But those sort of matter, yeah?

I'm not sure why #2 was so hard and then #3 was relatively easy... In fact my beta readers both loved #3 best of the set, but there it is. They also say with parenting: When you have one, you spend all day just gazing at your child. When you have a second, you spend all day watching your first child to make sure they don't hurt your second. When you have a third, you spend all day hiding from your children... so there's that.

Begonia Bribe Blurb Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a pint-sized beauty contest comes to town, someone decides to deliver a final judgment … A beauty pageant for little girls—the Little Miss Begonia Pageant—has decided to hold their event in a Roanoke park. Camellia is called in to help deal with the botanical details, the cute contestants, and their catty mothers. She soon realizes that the drama onstage is nothing compared to the judges row. There’s jealousy, betrayal, and a love triangle involving local newsman—and known lothario—Telly Stevens. And a mysterious saboteur is trying to stop the pageant from happening at all. But the drama turns deadly when Stevens is found dead, poisoned by some sort of plant. With a full flowerbed of potential suspects, Cam needs to dig through the evidence to uproot a killer with a deadly green thumb. Hart (aka, Alyse Carlson) writes books from her bathtub and can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart, on Facebook (author page, profile), Twitter, or Goodreads. Book links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

27 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Looking forward to reading book 2, Hart!

And a wonderful analogy here. You're absolutely right--the second book is incredibly different...and not so new and shiny to us as the first! Makes it tough to promote it as hard as we did the first time around.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My first and second books are really different. And yet I think I made all the mistakes with the first one.

Cecilia Peartree said...

Actually this analogy only works for me the other way round - my second child was easier to love than the first and so was my second novel!

L.G. Smith said...

It is funny how the process of writing a book, even within the same series, is so different from book to book.

Congrats Hart on your second baby!

Connie J Jasperson said...

I loved the Azalea Assault, and I'm sure I will love The Begonia Bribe! Hart, your books are well plotted and your characters are wonderful people who could be my friends. I agree that each child is a different parenting experience--but we don't need to feel guilty about that. The fact is what works one week won't work the next in this business, and it's a constant struggle.

They always say we're only as good as our next book, so (as a fan) I hope you're planning a large family!

Hart Johnson said...

Elizabeth, maybe that is part of it... the shiny new thing... (or lack there of).

Alex-always best to do it that way!

Cecelia-that's great that the second was easier! Sounds like you learned, too.

LG-Really caught me off guard, actually!

Connie, thank you so much! And yes... some kids really need different stuff... My daughter has been easier on the tails and much harder in the middle, and my son seems to be doing just the opposite.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm experiencing this same thing. I loved the watching/hiding part!

Great to see you here with Johanna! Waving!

Good luck with The Begonia Bribe.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That first book always holds a special place in our hearts. However, the second in my series will always be my favorite even though it wasn't the fans' favorite.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I read somewhere that songwriters have a difficult time with their second albums, especially when their first albums are successful. They said it was because they spent years working on their first album, but they had less time to work on the second one; also, they were under even more pressure to deliver another successful album. So I think that that can apply to your situation regarding your second book; it's a lot of pressure, but the fact that you completed more than one book is a big accomplishment in itself.

Hart Johnson said...

Carol-Makes sense that you would be!

Diane-funny how are favorites don't always do the best!

NW-that is definitely part of it... with a series contract, there IS less time for the later ones than the first. My biggest issue was calculating the time that would be needed for feedback.

Barbara Watson said...

I like this. Sometimes we need permission for things to be different each time around. It's still our writing, but new and different.

A Beer For The Shower said...

I hope I'm better with my future kids than I am with my books, then. I have that one book that I always say, "Yes, read this one. It's the best," and then I have others that I say, "Eh, let's just not talk about that one... It's not important."

Morgan said...

Love the comparison to children! I've actually thought the same thing! Totally spot on. :D

Hart Johnson said...

Barbara-it DOES help to have permission, eh?

Beer-yeah, I HAVE kids... I love them about the same amount, but in very different ways...

Morgan-so I'm not crazy then? teehee

Jai said...

The comparison to having children is awesome.

Jai said...

Oh and I didn't want to have your second child grow up with a complex.

Pat the little one on the head and let her know that she is included on my TBR list.

Old Kitty said...

Yay!!! Hello Johanna, hello lovely Tart! Awwww Tart! Your writerly babies are equally beautiful and have their own personalities and that's all to the better and now your third child is on its way and it sounds like it's going to be as brilliant!! Well done you!! Take care
x

Annalisa Crawford said...

It's not your fault, the second ones are always the naughty ones! Oh, wait, that may just be actual kids :-)

Maurice Mitchell said...

Though call Hart, since I only have one child. But it just goes to show that books, like children, are a growth experience and we learn along the way. A great host Johanna.

Helena said...

Hey, I've started Begonia and having a swell time with it, so no worries, Hart darling -- your second child is succeeding just fine. And your fourth and fifth are going to be geniuses, and your sixth and seventh will be stinking rich and support you in your old age.

Tammy Theriault said...

yes you can love them all...i guess in their own ways though right? :)

Donna Hole said...

Awesome analogy. That third book should be a breeze then :)

......dhole

Jill Haugh said...

I have a friend who claims "The first child is a lure".
Best of luck Hart! Looking forward to reading your book.
~Just Jill

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Johanna, Hi Hart!

Congrats on your second baby. Hey, remember each one is different, but the love for all our children should be the same... right?

Don't worry about the slow start. It will pick up. Keep positive. You have such talent and a way with words.

Patience....

The cover alone is so bright and cheerful, that should appeal to many a reader.

jaybird said...

Big congrats to Hart!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Hart, you totally are reading my mind! I have felt so much of what you wrote and I hope my third is as good as yours. Best of luck...when I read them, I'll be sure to start with book one.

Gina Gao said...

I'm really looking forward to reading Book 2!

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