A random bit of inspiration hit me this morning. When I finished up work on Five Talents a couple months ago, I did leave most of the major cast in places and situations that felt like they could be starting points for a possible sequel. While it may be a long while before I get to such a project amid the other ideas on my list, I do want to share the idea that came to me this week and how/why it’s being left to mature a bit in the cask before I do any kind of serious work on it.
Five Talents, being concerned with Hell and the afterlife opens itself within its “universe” to biblical, Christian mythos for its concepts. If I write a sequel, my current idea is that between the first book and the next, the Christian Rapture has begun on Earth. Heaven is giving humans a 7 year window to submit applications to be taken away to the new, perfect Earth where they’ll live perfect lives, be immortal, and have no wants or needs unfulfilled for all eternity. Anyone deferring can stay on old Earth and live out their lives as they are.
Naturally, like Hell, Heaven has its own sorts of bureaucracy and politics that’ll be on display throughout the story as this happens on the global stage, but it’ll be the backdrop/impetus for the conflicts I want for my characters which will be human drama against the grandiose deadline of eternal paradise. Karen will be strongly inclined to want the change of scenery and new adventure, to get out of the humdrum she and Calvin are in and carve out a new life and world for themselves. Calvin will, however, be quite content and happy with the life they have, the opportunities of “old Earth.”
My skeevy priest Father Llewyn McFadden, I envision, having an ongoing conflict wherein his application to New Earth is denied and he has to fight an increasingly complex battle (especially as a former man of the cloth) to try to prove himself and get in- whereas my dumb muscle, Maury, will be rubber stamped on his first attempt.
Gast and Lilith will reappear as will the denizens of Hell from the previous installment to offer their own takes on the “victory” of what they see as Heaven “taking the ball and going home.”
It’s a backdrop, the canvas on which the story can be painted, and more fun can be had with my characters, and against that larger backdrop are still the immediate and quotidian concerns of the humans in my story of work, love, and life. It’s not there yet, but it’s being added to the queue. It still needs a lot more bones to its frame before I’m ready to start adding muscle, but I’ll get there- just needs time and work, as all things do.