I discovered a way to turn The White Cage into a sequel to Ulterior. It seems wrong to force something like this onto a story which, on the surface, has little in common with my first novel, but there’s a couple of good reasons why it should be this way.
(1) Both novels are set in the same location and both involve large-scale disaster. When you’ve got some of the same characters (teachers) inhabiting both stories, it doesn’t make sense to make the events of one story contradict the other. I’m a big fan of the notion of making all of your fiction take place within the same version of reality. Stephen King does this a lot, such as Pennywise the clown from It showing up for a cameo in The Tommyknockers. I’ve lost count of how many cross references I’ve spotted in his fiction, but I love it when they happen.
(2) The original sequel to Ulterior, which I have partially planned, doesn’t quite work yet. But it occurred to me that it works a lot better when it takes place after the world-altering events of The White Cage. So, we might well be talking about an Ulterior trilogy here.
Marketing-wise this makes me very happy, too. The trouble with sequels is that you can never sell more copies than book #1. But The White Cage will also work as an independent story, so I’m not limited that way. And if it is purchased by enough people who don’t know about Ulterior, it could justify a reprint of book #1.
I’m running out of Ulterior books fast. Less than forty left out of the original thousand.