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The Challenges of Following Up a Bestselling Novel

03/09/2011 06:14 pm 18:14:58 | Updated May 25, 2011

The Huffington Post's editorial team thought readers might be interested in the pressures of following up a bestselling novel with a sequel.

Initially there was relatively little pressure on me. My book, Once a Spy was hardly To Kill a Mockingbird.

Also, when the publisher, Doubleday, advanced the idea of a sequel, I felt like a kid being told I could stay up and play longer. I already knew and enjoyed hanging out with the heroes -- Charlie, an inveterate horseplayer, and his father, Drummond, whom he'd always thought was a doddering appliance salesman but really is a CIA all-star. I even liked the bad guys: Because Drummond is suffering from Alzheimer's, his colleagues view him as a security risk and decide to "neutralize" him.

Better still were the places we would go: Most of Once a Spy takes place in Brooklyn. Near the end, however, the characters have reasons to travel to Switzerland and Martinique. So Twice a Spy offered more compelling research trips, all due respect to Brooklyn.

Finally, the harsh voices normally present in my head while I'm writing -- especially the guy who says "Not even a self-publishing company will accept this!" -- were sent packing. Twice a Spy had a publication date of March 8, 2011, well before I'd submitted the manuscript. Of course, the process wasn't without seemingly bottomless plot holes and the like. Still it was by far the most fun I've had as a writer; I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Editor's Note: To read an excerpt of "Twice a Spy" on HuffPost Books, click here.