Writing the Sophomore Novel: Was My Debut a Fluke?!

Rooms 347-348, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Friday, March 10, 2023
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


There’s a particular kind of anxiety that comes with writing a sophomore novel. Will it hold up to the success of the first book? Will it surpass lackluster debut sales? Was the first book a fluke? Join this panel of five authors who have recently published, are about to publish, or are drafting their second novels. Find out how they battle the sophomore slump with slightly thicker skin, a better understanding of publishing, a healthy dose of anxiety, and a lot of gratitude for their peers.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Writing_the_Sophomore_Novel_AWP2023.docx



Julie Carrick Dalton is the author of The Last Beekeeper and Waiting for the Night Song. A Tin House and Bread Loaf alum, she is a frequent speaker and teacher about the intersection of climate crisis and literature. She also farms a gorgeous tract of land in rural New Hampshire.

Nancy Johnson is the author of the novel, The Kindest Lie, which explores race, class, and family. Her debut was a Target Book Club pick and has been reviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Her second book from William Morrow, People of Means, is out in 2024.

Elizabeth Gonzalez James is the author of the novels, Mona at Sea (SFWP, 2021) and The Bullet Swallower (Simon & Schuster, forthcoming 2023), and the chapbook, Five Conversations about Peter Sellers (Texas Review Press, forthcoming 2023). She is currently the interviews editor at The Rumpus.

Rita Woods is a writer of historical fiction infused with magical realism. A native Detroiter, she currently serves as medical director of a large Wellness Center in suburban Chicago. Dr. Woods is an elected trustee of her local library board and has served as a writing mentor for Cinnamongirls, Inc


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center