I never intended to write a sequel
Since its release, The Night Train has received more reviews and triggered more reader comments than my other two novels combined. I have had the honor of speaking to middle school students who read The Night Train as part of their curriculum, as well as to teachers (retired and active) who have told me it should be required reading for all middle school students because of its subject matter.
Again and again, readers have repeated two comments: it should be a movie, and I should write a sequel. I can’t do anything about the movie request, but there came a point when I felt I could no longer dismiss the second request without failing the very people who have made these past few years so special — my readers.
So often sequels fail to live up to the original. When I decided to do this, I made a commitment to write a novel that can stand on its own merit. I wanted readers who haven’t read The Night Train to enjoy the full experience of reading a novel that is not part of a series, while not including too many spoilers should they choose to go back afterward and read The Night Train. At the same time, I didn’t want to subject those who have read The Night Train to excessive repetition of the original story. Striking that balance proved to be the most difficult part of creating Red Eyes.
A word of caution to parents: Red Eyes is not a children's book. While it does not contain gratuitous profanity (I never use the F-word or GD in any of my writings) or excessive sexual content, some of my characters do use some bad language. Since some people considered The Night Train to be a YA novel, and since so many young teens have read it, I feel the need to be clear that Red Eyes is written for an adult audience. My advice to parents is this: read it, then decide.
I know what you're going to ask: If a primary reason you wrote Red Eyes was because so many middle school students asked you to, why did you not write it to fit the YA category? To be perfectly honest, that is exactly what I set out to do, but as with all of my novels, the characters took over and I found it too hard to restrain them. That may sound silly, but that's exactly what happened.
People often ask me which of my novels is my favorite. My answer has always been, Norton Road. The reason? I fell in love with the characters. While it's too early to know how readers will react to Red Eyes, my gut tells me this is my best work to date. Why? Again, it's the characters. To put it simply, the cast of Red Eyes feels like family to me after a year of wrestling them for control of the story.
So what now? Hopefully, for you, it will be reading Red Eyes and enjoying it enough to tell your friends, your co-workers, your Facebook community, and the rest of the world by leaving a review on Amazon (reviews are an author's lifeblood). For me, it's working on the manuscript that will become my fifth novel, but more on that later.
Red Eyes is available on Amazon for your Kindle or in paperback format. If you would like a signed copy, visit my website and fill out the request form, or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.