Guest Post: ‘Why a Prequel?’ by Marie Sexton

Why a Prequel?

Hello, everybody. I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to talk about the re-release of my very first novel, Promises. Promises was first released in January 2010. I started writing it in about April of 2009. It seems crazy to me that it’s been ten years!


When Dreamspinner first contacted me about doing the re-release, they asked me to write a short story to go with it. I said I’d think about it, but I quickly realized I had a problem. Who exactly was I writing the story for? Was I writing it for the brand new readers who would have just met Matt and Jared? Or was I writing it for the many fans who’ve already read the entire Coda series? Because those two groups of people would expect different things. Time doesn’t pass in the Coda universe quite the way it passes here in the real world, but it’s been about six years since Matt and Jared met. For people who are familiar with the series, Matt and Jared are now almost forty years old. They have two other couples in Coda who they spend tons of time with, and another couple in Phoenix who they talk to on a regular basis. Their lives have expanded quite a bit since Promises.

So if the new story was for established Coda readers, I’d need to take all that into account. But for brand new readers, that was going to be a rather jarring turn of events. They just met Matt and Jared! They want to see what happens the next week or the next month or the next year, not 6-8 years later! Except, of course, I’d already written all that. The Promise is a free short story on my website that happens the following April. Putting Out Fires (available exclusively from Dreamspinner Press) is about Valentine’s Day two years after that. And the rest of the Coda books all show bits of Matt and Jared’s life. So how could I give the new readers something interesting — something that didn’t involve characters they hadn’t met, and didn’t feel like a giant leap forward in time — but still give the established readers something to be excited about?

Cole’s Book: Strawberries for Dessert

The answer — much to his delight — was Cole.

Funny story (and a bit of a tangent). When I first wrote Promises and had my husband read it, he said, “That Cole guy doesn’t really add anything. I think you should cut that part.” Except I’d already developed a fondness for Cole. I was already thinking about who I could pair him with. And that friendship ended up being the lynchpin for the entire Coda series.

But how exactly did that come to pass? Even I didn’t know. Jared says in Promises that he met Cole in college. Cole was his roommate’s boyfriend. Eventually, they became “friends with benefits.” But how exactly did it start?

And that, of course, ended up being the story I wrote — sort of a prequel to the Coda series, called Meant to Be (included in Promises). Hopefully those of you who have loved Cole since he first dropped into Coda for a booty call will be excited to see how it all began. And hopefully those of you who just met Matt and Jared (and Cole) will find it just as entertaining, and will be ready to check out Cole’s book, Strawberries for Dessert. (For those new to this series, please see

Thanks so much for hanging out with me, and a huge THANK YOU to Gay Book Reviews for having me here today!

Matt and Jared Gallery

Title: Promises (Coda #1)
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 14th 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 228 pages
Reviewed by: Belen, ParisDude and Kirstin


Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be

Jared has simple goals for his freshman year of college: make friends, lose his virginity, come out, and maybe fall in love. He doesn’t anticipate getting caught between his friend Bryan and Bryan’s flamboyant ex. Through the awkwardness, Jared learns love doesn’t always mean sex and the most meaningful connections might have nothing to do with romance.


Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?

Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.

Then Matt Richards moves to town.

Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.

Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.

Buy Links

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Coda series

About Maria Sexton

Marie Sexton’s first novel, Promises, was published in January 2010. Since then, she’s published nearly thirty novels, novellas, and short stories, all featuring men who fall in love with other men. Her works include contemporary romance, science fiction, fantasy, historicals, and a few odd genre mash-ups. Marie is the recipient of multiple Rainbow Awards, as well as the CRW Award of Excellence in 2012. Her books have been translated into six languages.

Marie lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Marie also writes dark dystopian fantasy under the name A.M. Sexton. You can contact her at



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