Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Second Book

Before the advent of Goodreads – or the accessibility of anything online, really – I had a book problem.  I would inadvertently read the second book in a series first.

I remember this happening with Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley series.  I checked All the Sweet Tomorrows out of the library.  It was fine until the story suddenly threw in a reference to an emerald necklace that had never been mentioned before.  It confused me until I read the first book and there was a scene that focused on an emerald necklace.  Okay.  That made sense now.

When I opened Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn before Outlander, I knew right away something was missing.  Didn’t matter.  The story was so gripping that when I was done, I got all the other books by her.  (Next one comes out in June!  But you have to read them in order, unlike me.)

Then there’s the second works of an author, the one that can be read out of sequence but still had to be finished by a deadline instead of the years spent crafting the first one before publication.  This is where I am now, with Who Wants to Marry a Doctor? (Now available for pre-order and out July 1!  Eek!)

Sabrina sniffed the chocolate-shell shot glass filled with a mysterious amber liquid. The alcohol fumes were strong, but she identified a bit of caramel underneath. She snuck a glance at her sister, who poured drinks behind the smooth oak counter of the bar while watching Sabrina and the drink. “What’s in this?” 

“Just try it, Bree.” Melora answered, the gleam in her brown eyes betraying nothing but eager anticipation. 

When her sister looked like that, Sabrina knew better than to argue. She took another deep breath, and finding nothing new or offensive, popped the whole thing in her mouth, chocolate shot glass and all. 

Liquid heaven. 

I read a romantic suspense – a sophomore effort – where the heroine was too stupid to live.  Worse than that, she KNEW she was too stupid to live.  After every action caused a debacle, she would think, “Well, that was stupid. I shouldn’t’ve done that.”  

Thankfully other books by this author are much better.

Quinn had taken a shower after he got home, one that had been as cold as he could stand. And he might have also lent a hand to his libido, hoping to calm his raging lust. But one look at Sabrina in that tight-fitting t-shirt had undone that solution.

So what can I say?  I spent a long time writing Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? and a year writing Who Wants to Marry a Doctor?  I learned so much about the craft of writing and storytelling during the intervening time and it was so easy for me to fall for the war-reporter hero Quinn (right.  Despite him being in scrubs on the cover, it’s the heroine that’s the doctor).  I hope readers will, too.  

Have you ever read the second book (or third, or fourth) in a series first? Or picked up a new release by an author and then devoured the backlist?  Tell me about it.

Who Wants To Marry A Doctor?


The Doctor Is In . . .

As a single mom and pediatrician, Sabrina Bankhead doesn't have time for romance. All that changes when she reluctantly agrees to take part in a dating show fundraiser for a children's hospital. But once she sets eyes on the journalist hired to cover the show, none of the four contestants stand a chance. If she doesn't choose one of the eligible bachelors, the hospital doesn't raise a cent. What's a lovestruck doc to do?

Investigative journalist Quinn Donnelly is on the mend after an assignment in Afghanistan left him both physically and emotionally scarred. Though he's itching to return overseas and finish his story, he'll have to be content with this fluff piece assignment to cover a local dating show. One-night stands are Quinn's forte-but after he meets Sabrina, he's ready to say yes for the long haul. After years of chasing the next big story, Quinn is starting to wonder if maybe home really can be where the heart is . . .


  1. Maureen! Thanks for letting me visit today.

  2. I have totally read the second book in a series first before. I was at the library one day as a teenager and a cover and title caught my eye. After taking it home and reading it, I realized my error, but was already hooked in the story. Yes, I didn't get the full introduction to the characters, their backgrounds, or what brought the group together, however the story itself was so intriguing and epic, that it just didn't matter. Later when I finally reading the first novel, to me it just wasn't as strong as the second book, though still very fun. I was actually glad I started in on the second one, because I don't think the first would have given me such a strong opening to hook me in.

    Luckily with most romance novels, reading the second or third book first isn't as much of a tragedy. Yes, you'll miss out on the connections between the books (which is my favorite thing about a series), but more often than not the story is strong enough that each book would stand on it's own.

    I've been binge reading all the shorter formulaic romance novels and am in need of a shake up, which I'm pretty sure this will be. I sooooo can't wait to read Who Wants to Marry A Doctor, because if it's as quirky and spunky as the first book, it is going to be so much fun!

  3. Meg, your comments always make me smile. Thank you for the encouragement!

    I read a second contemporary romance book once that was fine, until 3/4 of the way through there was suddenly a paranormal element. I was like.... whhhh? It wasn't huge, like the character didn't turn into a vampire or something, but it was enough to shake me out of the story.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I have read books out of sequence before, but I try really hard not to. I'm more likely to skip a book in a series of the plot doesn't interest me and the book stand alone to some degree. 

    That won't be the case with Who Wants to Marry a Doctor? though, promise. lol July is way too far away. :)

    1. Now whenever I see a book that looks interesting I whip out my phone and check it on Goodreads. I'll still get it if it looks interesting, but at least I'm going in forewarned and forearmed.

      Thanks for the love for Who Wants to Marry a Doctor? I can't wait for July.

  6. I've totally done that. Most famously, I read Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat before Interview with the Vampire. As a result, I loved Lestat and thought Louis was a whiner. The movie changed my mind.

    1. You know, I think I did, too. Or, at least, started it. Is that the one where someone's in a rock band?

      I picked it up at my boyfriend's house while I was waiting for something, but I only read the first few chapters.

  7. Guilty! I love series books. I usually devour them and can't put them down. I find myself getting wrapped up in fictitious lives, which is kind of funny when you think about it. I have also been known to dream about the characters I have read about. I do like when books in a series can stand alone though as well. It helps in the times that you don't realize it was a series. I am so looking forward to Who Wants to Marry a Doctor? Is it July yet?

    1. Aw, thanks, Gigi. I tell ya, there are some characters I wouldn't mind dreaming about. ;)

  8. I read your first book and have been eagerly awaiting WHO WANTS TO MARRY A DOCTOR?!

    I try really hard to read series in order. I even try to get all the books before I start reading them so I can just immerse myself in the characters' world. Goodreads helps me a lot to find out if I need to find connecting books.

    Marcy Shuler

    1. Thank you, Marcy! That was a nice way to start my day. <3


Sign up for the JCR newsletter!