Patricia Grady Cox – October 7, 2018
Every now and then I think about writing a sequel to HELLGATE, my most recent novel, set in 1880 Arizona Territory. That thought gained momentum recently as I watched a PBS documentary about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Prescott’s small Chinatown (50 Chinese in Prescott according to the 1880 census) consisted of homes and businesses primarily along Granite Street. The community offered services such as laundry and restaurants alongside opium dens (legal at that time).
The Chinese Exclusion Act, based on economics combined with racism, marked the first time the United States took action against any class of immigrants. With legal entry into the United States severely limited, Chinese immigrants began to enter the United States through the wide open border with Mexico. Sometimes they disguised themselves as Mexicans and learned a few words of Spanish in order to fool any authorities they might encounter.
Learning about this little-known episode in our Southwestern history inspired me to develop a new subplot for that HELLGATE sequel — a plotline that would dovetail perfectly with an already imagined quest into Mexico to find Mad Mason McCabe’s winter hideout. And it provides new opportunities to expand the roles of Kam Le and Kimo, secondary Chinese characters in HELLGATE. So far, it’s just an idea. The new possibilities are still percolating. You never know where inspiration will come from. And where will the sequel lead? I won’t know for sure until it’s done! Stay tuned!
Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about sequels! Readers – what makes a good one? Writers – if you’ve written an unplanned sequel, how did you approach it?