In all honesty, I didn't expect to be writing this post today. (And yes, I know it's been weeks since my last post…) About four weeks ago, I launched into Starfighter with a vengeance, started to write it, and bounced completely. It just didn't work, and I couldn't find a way to make it work, not as written. I spent two weeks on this, and ended up, basically, with nothing. Which means Starfighter is postponed for a little while, and will probably reappear reasonably soon under a new format. I haven't given up on it, but I need to spend more time going back over the details again.
Now, this post isn't a 'nothing is coming out' post. Far from it. The side effect of this – following some rather frantic work – is that Alamo 19: Final Testament will be on sale in a few days. I had the plot in my head, the characters working, and I just launched into it with a vengeance. After a bit of initial trouble, it sparked well, and the draft was finished and off to the beta-readers yesterday. Soon, fingers crossed, I'll be hitting the button and putting it on sale.
This book, I will confess, surprised me quite a lot. First of all in that a lot of the plot elements I had written off for the 'Thule' sequel, the book which became Triple-Edged Sword, actually fitted in here rather well, so that development work actually saw some fruition after all. It's a direct sequel to 'Forbidden Seas', picking up immediately where it left off, and continuing the saga of the Neander refugees being escorted to safety – though naturally, it isn't going to be as simple as that.
The universe expanded during the writing of this book – and more than I had anticipated going in. New cultures, new systems, a lot more detail of the Neander culture have been weaved into this one, though it also has one of the most complicated space battles I've ever worked on. Gave me a headache trying to plot it out! It's a strong book for Cooper and Harper, I think, and you'll be seeing even more of Harper in future books; I think she's managed to finally make herself a permanent POV character, which rather condemns me to four-POV novels for the foreseeable future.
Probably the main surprise of this book was that it sparked off what's going to be a long story arc, easily as long as the old 'Cabal War' story from Alamo 6-10, and likely longer; the odder part is that it really started with the last book, Forbidden Seas – or in some ways, with Triple-Edged Sword, though that fits into the arc rather like Ghost Ship did with the original piece – or Not One Step Back, perhaps more appropriately. (If you are a new reader, Triple-Edged Sword isn't a bad place to start, or perhaps Aces High, if you don't want to start right at the beginning.)
There's a lot of, well, stuff coming up in the next few books, and the pieces are dropping nicely into place for me. That might be my problem with the new series, actually, as I've spent most of the last three weeks working on future Alamo storylines. Not that I'm complaining about that, far from it! Working in this universe feels like going home for me now, and I don't see myself stopping in the foreseeable future. I've already had some thoughts about what will happen in the next story arc, and I'm not going to need to worry about that until 2017!
What comes next? Well, in all honestly, I don't know – and I'm planning to start writing next week! I suppose if inspiration really fails, I have got the next Alamo novel forming up nicely – Operation Damocles – but I'd like to do something else first. The problem isn't that I'm short of ideas, rather that I have too many and they're having trouble settling down. If all goes as I am expecting right now, you'll see the following Alamo novel in mid-July – with Final Testament coming up before the end of this month – and something else coming out between now and then! Rest assured – I'll let you know here when I get deep into it, once I'm sure about what I am doing...