In Return to Canterbury, things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There, he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year. Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together, they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!
Here’s the interesting thing about Melissa–she never planned to write this sequel. And actually, this seems to happen quite a bit to authors. So, here’s Melissa’s take on why she finally gave in and wrote this wonderful sequel. When you finish her post, please fill out the Rafflecopter form to be entered to win: Return to Canterbury for a young reader (or yourself!) in your life!
In Which I Swear I Will Not Write a Sequel and Then Turn Around and Do So
By Melissa Ann Goodwin
When I wrote The Christmas Village, the idea of a sequel was a tickle of a possibility but not an intention. The story captured so much of what I always hoped to put into a book someday: cherished memories of holidays in New England and themes that revolve around longing for home and family and friends. The ending, I felt – and readers agreed – was satisfying, despite one thread that I left dangling. After all, in real life, not everything is tied up with a bow; in real life, all of our questions are not always answered.
Still, readers begged for a sequel. I was thrilled that they wanted to spend more time with Jamie, Kelly, Christopher, and all the characters in the village of Canterbury. And I understood their longing because I felt it too. But I kept shaking my head NO. Why?
• I was terrified that a sequel wouldn’t do justice to the first book and that readers would be disappointed.
• A story set at Christmas has a certain emotional tug. I had no idea how to match that feeling without repeating myself.
• There are a lot of surprises in The Christmas Village, and I didn’t know how I would catch up new readers in the second book without giving too much of the first book away.
• I had absolutely NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what the plot of the second book would be.
Yet, there was that thread. Looking back now, I think I let it dangle on purpose. Somewhere down deep, I guess I always knew that I too, wanted to visit more with these characters who seem like dear friends in a place that feels like home. One day, a story idea came to me. I picked up that dangling thread and Return to Canterbury was born. And once I had the story idea, I figured out the rest. To my huge relief, reviewers are saying they like this book as much – in some cases even more than – the first.
When people ask if there will be another sequel, I answer, “No, I’m not planning to write one.” But I, too, love and miss these characters and this special place. So while I am moving on to new (different) projects, if I’ve learned anything at all from this, it’s to Never Say Never.
Melissa Ann Goodwin grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, where she spent a happy childhood living in her imagination and writing stories in her head. It was only a matter of time before those stories spilled out onto the written page. She has been published extensively in children’s and national magazines and won a Writer’s Digest Annual Poetry Competition Award in 2010. The Christmas Village won the 2013 Blogger Book Fair Readers’ Choice Award for action/adventure. She is also a yoga teacher, and now lives with her husband, artist J.R. Secor, in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Melissa’s books are available in print and ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and in all digital formats from Smashwords.