Just write your first novel again
When Maile Meloy's first novel, Liars and Saints, a multi-generational saga of a dysfunctional Catholic family, was published in 2004, critics admired in it what some described as "domestic realism": Meloy's authentic ear for the voices of her characters, and the sharply realistic detail she brought to her tale of infidelity, incest, deceit and guilt.
It was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2005, and Richard and Judy's decision to promote the book as a summer read propelled it into the bestseller lists. Readers may find its sequel, then, a surprise: A Family Daughter casts the first book in a totally different light, suggesting it was not the "real" version of events after all. Instead, Liars and Saints is portrayed as a novelised version of what happens in the second book.
Meloy came up with the idea after drawing a blank while trying to find a new subject. She decided to turn to what she knew best - the characters of her first book and the process of writing a novel. She was, she says, aiming "to fill in the space around" Liars and Saints, but at the same time striving to ensure that the new book worked on its own terms.
Hey, it was good enough for Orson Scott Card
. (via Bookninja