There's a specific scene from Fearless that I wanted badly to echo in Hellhound. I think I've just about pulled it off, so that's exciting! For me, anyway. You take the little victories on the long slog through the process.
While writing this weekend, I tried to pinpoint why exactly this book seems to be taking so long - it actually isn't taking any longer than any other book, it just feels that way, each word count goal painfully met, with none of my two a.m. manic writing sprints, fingers flying over the keys in moments of rabid inspiration. It feels slow and careful, like a school project on a complicated subject. Loverboy felt this way, too, so I think it boils down to this:
A desire to up the ante.
The urge to echo without repeating myself, without dragging out something in the same way, at the same pace, with the same layers of character realization. The need to go bigger, better, more explosive - while simultaneously maintaining a level of intimacy that keeps the story personal and relevant, and not just an array of special effects. So to speak.
The first book in a series of books is just that, the first. Everything is fresh and new. And you want to maintain that freshness through each consecutive book, while keeping things familiar and cozy, taking the characters to deeper places, pressing just a little harder each time. It's a balancing act. Juggling with raw eggs, and it comes with no small amount of pressure.
Sometimes I look at it and think "it shouldn't be this hard." And sometimes I think the opposite, that maybe the fact that it's hard means it's a worthwhile effort.
At the end of the day, my main driving force behind each new installment in a series is my readers. Having been on the viewing end of beloved media that went astray, I always want to deliver to you guys on an emotional front. I don't want that horrid moment of "WTF is this??"
Because upping the ante is only worthwhile - for me - if it's done in a fulfilling, rewarding way. There are enough stories out there that end in disappointment; I want to be one of the creators who delivers the kind that makes you smile.