The most common question people ask me about Warm Bodies is, "When is the sequel?" I've been hearing that question for over two years now, and it's a strange one. Why would people assume I'm writing a sequel? The vast majority of books don't have sequels. Do they figure that because I wrote a book about zombies, I must be a crass commercialist who wants to stretch out his one hit as long as possible? Cash in and milk the teat dry? I thought about all the writers who have influenced me--people like Cormac McCarthy, Douglas Coupland, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Dave Eggers, Joseph Heller, J.D Salinger, Charlie Kaufman, Jeanette Winterson, Jonathan Lethem, Chris Adrian, Stephen King--and noted that King is the only one who ever wrote a sequel. And even he only did it twice in a 50-book career.
Clearly, there is something uncool about writing sequels. None of the writers whose careers I hope to emulate have done it--in serious literary circles, it just isn't done.
The thing is, I am writing a sequel.
I can see the reactions now: some smiles, some furrowed brows, some eye-rolls. People have urged me not get stuck in a rut, to move on and explore new territory, because as the above-mentioned Jeanette Winterson put it, "Sequels are for when a writer runs out of ideas."
I have not run out of ideas. I have more ideas than I'll ever be able to write, three of which already have their first chapter written. But as much as I'm pawing the ground to dive into those stories, here's why I'm staying in R and Julie's world a little longer: their story isn't finished.
I wrote Warm Bodies having only the faintest hope that it would ever see publication. I never dreamed that I'd have the opportunity to continue the story in another book, so I tried to make it self-contained. But in my head, I still went ahead and created a big, complex world full of history and mystery and people and monsters and strange things in-between, all moving toward something only hinted at in Warm Bodies' brisk 256 pages. Those pages end with hope on the horizon, but the world that R, Julie, M, Nora, Rosso, and Perry inhabit is still very dark, very wild, and not even close to "saved."
I love that world. I love those people, and I want to show you what happens to them. So I'm writing another book about them. Another book-and-a-half, actually...but I'll explain that later. For now, just trust that I have a story to tell and a reason to tell it, and I'll try my best not to ruin everything.
I love you people. Thanks for being alive.