Thursday, 9 May 2013


Hello, Dear Readers! Happy Thursday. After Tuesday's long, serious post, I thought it would be nice to have something a bit shorter and more cheerful today. Hence, a rather lovely reader question from the rather lovely Tanya:
I was really captivated from your book called shadows on the moon. It is by far the best book I have read in my life. It was so emotional yet strong. I really loved how you changed the concept on Cinderella. I was wondering if you can make a sequel to this book because I love it and love you and your stories.
D'aw, so sweet. Thank you, Tanya! I'm incredibly happy that you liked the book this much. Emails and comments like yours always make my day; these words are literally worth their weight in gold to me. Now, as to your question: I've answered this one a few times for a few different people in a few different places, but it keeps coming up again. It seems like a good idea to answer it here, definitively, once and for all.

So... is there any chance of a direct a sequel to Shadows on the Moon starring Suzume, Otieno and Akira?

Nope. At least, not right now.

Why is that?

Well, although I do have a very strong idea of what happens to them after they leave Tsuki no Hikari no Kuni and travel to Athazie, that strong idea does not include any events interesting enough to write a book about.

Basically, in my own head (and of course, you are free to have an entirely different version of this, and ignore everything I've written here) they get to Athazie after a long sea journey and have a slightly awkward adjustment period for a little while. Suzume struggles with everything that she has done up to now, and the feeling that she does not deserve happiness. She is not sure how to build a new identity that she actually wants to live with. But eventually, with everyone's love and support, she settles down. A large part of her own healing process is based in learning to heal other people like her - people who have been traumatised and left with scars on their minds and hearts - using her musical gift. She and Otieno stay together and eventually have children whom they love dearly and who fill their lives with laughter and a bit of craziness. Akira, in the meantime, becomes very famous because of her amazing dancing talent. She travels all over the country, performing to worshipful crowds. After a few years, she and Otieno's father admit that they have fallen in love, and get married. They, too, are very happy.

After reading that, you might be thinking - hey, that sounds pretty awesome to me. I'd read that. Why can't you write that?

Because it's a happy ending - not a story. The events I've described there wouldn't generate enough excitement to fill even fifty pages. There's no conflict. Nothing changes significantly. No one gets hurt. A book in which the only events are everyone quietly being happy and having peaceful, contented lives might sound soothing but in reality it would be the b-word. Yes, that b-word. BORING.

In order for me to actually write a book about Suzume and Otieno and Akira's lives in Athazie, I would need to have a revelation about what happens to them in their future. I'd need to wake up one day and realise that there was going to be a terrible plague, or a war, or that one of them was going to die and leave the others bereft. And you know what? I don't wanna! I don't want to take a wrecking ball to their contentment. I want these guys to fade happily into the sunset. I've already put them through enough, don't you think? They deserve to retire.

It's possible that I might write a short story one day about their lives in Athazie. I have an idea for that, and an idea where it could be published. But unless my muse decides to be horribly cruel, I don't think I'm ever going to write a proper sequel.


That doesn't mean you'll never get to visit Tsuki no Hikari no Kuni again. I love that setting deeply and I feel as if there are lots more stories to be told there. After I've finished writing The Name of the Blade bk# 3, the next book I'm going to work on will actually be a companion novel to Shadows on the Moon, set in The Moonlit Lands. This will be another fairytale retelling - Beauty and the Beast this time - and while the characters from Shadows on the Moon won't be making an appearance, their influence will be felt in the story. I'm very excited by this book. You can get an idea what it's going to be like by visiting the Pinterest board I have set up for it.

I hope that makes you feel a little bit better, Tanya. Thank you again for your email :)


Krispy said...

Eee! Looking forward to seeing the Moonlit lands again, especially since I enjoyed Shadows on the Moon so much.

And actually, thanks for that happy ending summary. I like this fade into the sunset. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Krispy: Thanks :) Of course, people are free to go off and write fanfic about a different version of Suzume's future life if they want, but I just can't imagine wanting to make her suffer anymore. And without suffering, there's nothing to write about!

Isabel said...

Ooh, so looking forward to the companion book!

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: I can't wait to get to work on it :)

Megha said...

way to India, and I was reading Shadows on the Moon, and last year in the summer I sat for hours straight in my balcony reading Frostfire, and this year when I'm on the plane again, I'll be reading The Night Itself! So yeah, I just really wanted to say that your books have stuck with me through the years, so thanks for that :)

Megha said...

Oh gosh, I think I cut half of that comment out XD delete it please? :) I was saying that last year and in 2011 in the summers your books have stuck with me, so thank you for that :) and I can't wait to read more about the Moonlit Land :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Megha: But the first half makes complete sense now that you've posted this second comment. And it's a lovely comment. I'd be sad to delete it. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

I truly love your book. I hope if you write another one- none of them die. I couldn't handle it.

I'm Glad Suzume gets a happy ending that I want for her although I to was starting to believe that she would never get it. I know its a lot to ask but do please think about writing another book. It can be a short story or you can do it chapter by chapter. All I know is, I picked up your book last week and I have finished it. I want to read more about suzume and Oteino.

But none the less, your book is fantastic. Great piece of literature and makes on think. Thank you for writing a story about a girl who saves her self and finds the happiness she deserves.

Zoë Marriott said...

Anon: Well, I promise that if I ever do get an idea for a sequel, I'll give it a fair go. But I can't promise, if that happens, that no one will get hurt or die. You can rest assured that I'll be crying over it as much as anyone else, though.

Nic said...

Wow - I cannot believe it never occurred to me to use Pinterest to gather together book inspirations! Well, maybe I can believe it since I'm new to that site, but still. Your board is beautiful, and it makes me curious about the story!

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