Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Trilogy Complete!

Quite a lot's happened since I first jotted down my rough outline for a sci-fi survival trilogy in early 2006. I remember it seeming insanely ambitious at the time, perhaps because of the word 'trilogy'. But I was adamant that each book should be no more than novella length, and that the setting for each installment should be vastly different than the other two. Kate Borrowdale is an interesting character to build a series around because she doesn't tend to say much. And when she does, it's often terse. A survivor through and through, Kate is as close to an American pioneer woman as I'll probably ever get to write. She's stubborn, single-minded, and endlessly resourceful. The unforgiving alien planet of Kratos is in some respects her home turf--it calls into action all of her considerable physical and mental attributes. And as she has the man of her dreams to look out for as well, let's just say it's going to take more than Red Indians to stop her.

Eternal Press released the The Eleven-Hour Fall as an eBook in April 2008. It did solid business, ending up in the top five bestsellers for that month. In November, it received a nomination for Best Short Fiction 2008 at the Red Roses For Authors Christmas Awards.

Part two, The Elemental Crossing, is set on a vast ocean. Kate and Jason must try to cross it if they are to procure long-term survival on Kratos. It's a harrowing journey, but with this being an alien ocean, the creatures and scenarios they encounter provided many fascinating passages. Of the three books, I think this is the most consistently imaginative. Sea survival stories carry an inherent sense of scale and isolation, and there's a strong element of fate, in that there's only so much a person can do on a tiny raft. The rest is up to chance.

Eternal released The Elemental Crossing in September 2008. I've now signed a contract for the third and final installment, Kate of Kratos. This is a longer novella (29,000 words), but there are also more characters. The forest and mountain setting sets it apart from the previous books in every possible way. There's finally a chance of finding a permanent abode on Kratos. But there are also fresh mysteries to solve, deadly new creatures to contend with, and personal questions Kate must ask herself if she is to live within a family unit. This was the quickest book to write, and easily the most enjoyable. There's a sustained chase sequence half way through that I think will have readers chewing the screen in excitement (I know I did while writing it). All told, this is the strongest installment in terms of plot and character. It pays to be critical of your own work when looking back, but I'm genuinely proud of what I did with Kate of Kratos. It's such a relief to know that I didn't screw the whole thing up at the final hurdle.

I can't wait to share the last part of Kate's adventure with you next year. It's been a great ride on Kratos!

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