Jun 1, 2012

You never forget your... second!

By Leah Ashton

Today is the release day in the UK for my second book, A Girl Less Ordinary

Hooray! This is especially exciting for me, as while writing this book (and subsequently re-writing it) there were many, many times where it didn't seem possible that it would ever make it to this day. Yes - I had the dreaded second book blues.

As an unpublished writer, I always assumed that with publication came this magical, unmovable confidence and knowledge. If I was published, then I had made it, and therefore writing book after book would surely be effortless.

Ah. Not so much :) Turns out, that I still have lots to learn, and so as I wrote this book I was swamped by doubt, and frustration, and certainly that little voice in my head that wondered (loudly!) if the first book had all been a fluke. Especially when the book required a complete re-write - only 8000 words of the originally subbed version made it to the finished book (all those wasted words!).

But - it's not so bad. I learnt more from this book than my first. I learnt that I do have more than one story inside me, and that I can take a huge step back from my writing and look at it with fresh eyes. I learnt that no matter how dire the first draft may appear, I can still end up with a book that I love, and that I am so, so proud of. I love this book, and I'm thrilled that it's now available for people to read!

I know I'm not the only author to suffer from the second book blues, and I've also heard of athletes that take a temporary dip in their second professional season after a successful debut. 

Is there anything in your life that got harder the second time round? I'd love to know I'm not alone :)


  1. Hi Leah! Huge congratulations on your second book! What a thrill! I'm so looking forward to reading it. I'm trying to think about things that got harder the second time around-but I'm a great believer that if I don't like something the first time I don't do it a second time! (Life's too short!) When I wrote my second book I was so panicked that I wouldn't be able to actually finish another book that I wrote it in a month-I was so exhausted at the end that I vowed never to do that again! Now I pace myself. So I guess writing the book wasn't hard- but believing in myself was harder second time round.

  2. Leah, I love that cover! All the purple would make me pick it up in the shops.

    I had a different experience with my second book because my agent submitted the first and second at the same time, so I wrote it before I was published. It's interesting how different everyone's journey is!

  3. Thanks Louisa! Yes, that is the hard bit, isn't it - believing you're capable of doing it all again :D

    I have your debut on my TBR list, am going to be doing a LOT of reading before my revisions hit!

  4. Rachel - Isn't it lovely! Am very happy with it.

    And what a clever way of avoiding the second book blues entirely :D

  5. Hi Leah, I remember the revisions on my second book being much harder, but my editor was lovely and marvellous, which gave me the confidence to tackle them and come out on top. I know what you mean about believing it will suddenly be easier when you're published. A lovely dream!

  6. Leah, congratulations on your second book! Your first was great, so I'm sure we'll all love this one too. Harder the second time around? Getting into New Zealand. Along with a heap of ex-pats I know who have done the same, I forgot my first residents visa expired and they're not keen to let you back into the country at 3am without a second. Not quite as traumatic as ditching 42,000 words, but not good.

  7. Jo, did you realise you won a prize pack of books last month? http://lovecatsdownunder.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/party-prize-pack-winners.html

  8. I'm with Rach. My second-written was my first-published, and so my first-written became my third-published, which mean my second-published was actualy my third-written (lol, are you keeping up?) and I got to write it with two other experienced Aussies (including Michelle *yay*) on a continuity so I had lots of guidance and support.

    Which is the key - guidance and support and not trying to battle on in isolation. Just knowing someone else is there, writing alongside you or interested in how you're going... makes all the difference.

  9. Oh, Leah, I just love, love, love your cover! I want that purple dress (more than that, I'd like to look good in that purple dress...but just to have it hanging in my wardrobe so I could touch it. Mmm.)

    I'd written Book 2 before I sold Book 1, so Book 3 was a fraught experience, but not as fraught as Book 6. Why? *Shakes head* I'm still trying to work that out. :-)

    Hey, Nikki, it was great fun working with you on your "third written." And I adored your story. :-)

    But to your question, Leah. Something I've found harder the second time around. Not sure if this quite counts as a "second," but...as a kid I remember how I used to run everywhere. But running now? I don't think so. ;-)

  10. congrats on the release, love the cover especially because that women wearing a purple dress =D

  11. Yay you've done it! Go Leah. And love that purple goodness of a cover.

  12. Hi Leah - congrats on book 2's publication :)

    BTW - love the cover - I want that purple dress!!

  13. I totally related to this post Leah! I am now in the midst of writing my third rural and all those doubts are rearing their ugly heads again :(

  14. Annie - I'm lucky I have a very supportive and patient editor, too :)

    Jo - I don't know, 3am Visa issues sound pretty awful to me! How did you sort that out?

    Nikki - Yes, I'm very lucky to have some very, very supportive friends ;)

  15. Michelle - I suspect I will many tricky books in my future too, although I hope none are *quite* as traumatic as Book 2 :) And I've *never* been able to run, I'm just built for it!

    Eli - Isn't the dress amazing! And it suits my heroine, Ella, just perfectly. She is super glam!

    Eleni - Thank you! I adore the colour purple, so was thrilled with this cover!

  16. Joanne - Thank you!! Still seems so surreal to have my books in print :)

    Rachael - I suspect my doubts will never go away, either. But I guess the trick is to keep on writing through it! (I'm not always so good at that bit :) ).

  17. but i'm a bit dissappointed with the man at the cover T_T