Let’s Go Round Again – the ups and downs of writing a second novel

Rob Pateman (Photo Paul Stuart)

Rob Pateman (Photo Paul Stuart)

R.S Pateman is the author of The Second Life of Amy Archer. His new novel, The Prophecy of Bees is due for release on 20th November. Rob talks to us about writing the second novel. 

Sometimes it seems as if the writing life is one big obstacle course. Don’t get me wrong – I love what I do and feel blessed for being able to do it. But it isn’t all plain sailing.

There’s the anxiety of getting the first novel written; you’re isolated, not certain if what you’re writing is any good and the dream of publication seems distant and unlikely.

Then there’s the stress and disappointment associated with finding an agent, the lack of any concrete feedback, the finality of ‘sorry, no, not for us.’ Until of course, that magic day when someone finally says yes.

But you’re not done yet. Next up is submitting your novel to publishers, which is even more nerve-wracking than the search for an agent as the dream is that bit closer. Until, if you’re lucky, a publisher makes an offer on your novel.

The package my agent, Oli Munson at A M Heath, sent out to publishers included the manuscript of The Second Life of Amy Archer – and a synopsis for a second novel, The Prophecy of Bees.

Amy Archer BeesI was bowled over when Orion over me a two book deal. Unsurprisingly, the focus was on Amy Archer but, once the editing and cover had been sorted, suddenly the second book loomed large. Now the synopsis that had been an add-on to the ‘main event’ had to be fleshed out, imagined, written.


Second novels are notoriously problematic. Mine was no exception. With Amy Archer, I’d been writing in a vacuum, with no real expectations and no obligations to anyone other than myself.

Now I had a contract. People – professional, highly skilled publishing folk – had invested time and money in my writing. I had to earn my keep.

Amy Archer was launched on an unsuspecting reading public, some of whom actually read it. The Prophecy of Bees was my chance to satisfy the readers who’d liked my debut and were anticipating the follow-up. And, hopefully, it would win over people who weren’t so keen on Amy Archer.

The doubts and anxiety were back, only this time with a big dollop of expectation – from readers, publisher and myself.

It was a long and sometimes painful process. I often despaired of ever getting the book finished. And I longed for the unfettered freedom I’d had when writing Amy Archer.

But I drew inspiration from that time too. Somehow I’d found a way to write one book, a book a publisher and readers liked enough to take a chance on. I had the experience to enable me to do it again. What’s more, I wasn’t alone; my agent and my editor, Jemima Forrester, were only a phone call or email away for encouragement, guidance and feedback. A helping hand over the next part of the obstacle course.

I doubt if any book is easy to write, however many you have under your belt. But my second novel gave me everything I needed to continue what I hope will be a long career – trust in the process, a reliable support system, a belief in myself and, perhaps above all, momentum.

Which always comes in handy whatever sort of obstacle course you’re negotiating.


Both The Second Life of Amy Archer and The Prophecy of Bees are released by Orion. Click here if you would like to view the details on Amazon. 

To find out more about R.S Pateman, visit his website: http://rspateman.com/


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Novel Kicks
About Novel Kicks/Laura...
Novel Kicks was founded in 2009 and is run by Laura who is currently living in Hampshire, and lives with husband, Chris and her cat, Buddy. She would love to be a writer. She’s trying to write the novel she thinks so much about. She’s loved reading and writing since ‘Creative Writing’ classes in primary school. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything she can get her hands on, she loves reading, dancing like a loon, and watching Project Runway and Ugly Betty (her two TV guilty pleasures.) She also has an obsession with chocolate and Jammie Dodgers.

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