I promised myself I wouldn’t write a dramatic blog about Dead Stars. The kind you might mistake for an acceptance speech at the Oscars. The kind where I use punctuation to denote emotions, such as :’( Trust me, I won’t..... ;) Nope. None of that here.
What I will do, however, my good friends, is talk about Dead Stars being the finale of The Emaneska Series. I’d like to share what these last two books and the Series mean to me, and what’s on the horizon now that it’s finished.
If you’re signed up to my mailing list, you might have seen me refer to The Emaneska Series as a long hard road. Damn right it has been. It’s been a journey, sometimes smooth, sometimes arduous. There have been moments, and the writers amongst you will no doubt know these very well, where I’ve wanted to throw my laptop out of a very high window and spit on its carcass. There have been moments or pure facedesk, where I truly doubted if I could write anything at all, never mind a bloody book. There were moments where I doubted my publishing skills, when I got hit hard by reviews and my seemingly unachievable aspirations.
But, like any road, with the downs there comes the inevitable ups.
The road of Emaneska was like the country of Emaneska itself. Sometimes cold and wild, but at other moments breathtakingly inspirational. With the moments of frustration and doubt came others of manic grinning. Seeing my books on the shelf at Guildford Waterstones (and without me sneaking them in there as well) was one of my proudest moments as an author, never mind an indie one. The fleeting moments during editing where I smiled at my own words. Moments like publishing four books in four years. Hell, even completing the Series, and writing this very blog, are great moments for me.
These moments, both good and bad, have coalesced into lessons. Each moment has taught me something vital about writing or fantasy or publishing, and for that I’m decidedly grateful. It seems that whether I wanted to or not, while I’ve been writing a Series, I’ve also been improving as an author. And as a publisher too. Emaneska has been an education, sometimes brutal, at other times sneaky like an eel, subconscious.
Of course, I haven’t gone it alone this whole time. I’ve met a whole bunch of new people during the last four years, thanks to my books, social media, and events like the London Book Fair. And they (you) have all been downright supportive from the get go.
I scribbled a little note on a post-it when I first put finger to keyboard on The Written. It said - make somebody say wow’. In my mind, if I could make just one person sit up and say ‘This was a damn good book’ then my book has done its job. Thanks to the wonder that is the internet, with things like Twitter and Amazon reviews and Goodreads and such, I can see what everyone is saying about my books. I can talk directly with anybody with an opinion. Not all of the feedback has been good, I will admit, but that in itself was another bump in the road, another learning experience. Thankfully, the majority of the feedback has been, and remains, good, and even in some cases fantastic. For some reason, people seem to like my books. And furthermore, they want to tell me about it. It’s support like this that has helped me keep plodding down my road.
And so, we come to the end of the road itself. Dead Stars, the two-parted big ole sledgehammer of a finale. Big sigh. I think I’ve done well with these two books. I’ve put a lot of what I’ve learnt over the past few years between the pages. They raise the stakes and at the same time as wrapping up the Series, leaves it open for a possible sequel, or prequel even. Just in case. Am I happy with the ending? Very. It was tough to write, but I’m happy. I think the only thing that can be said is that I can’t wait to release them, and I can’t wait to hear what you think. Bring on the feedback.
So where to now? What does the future hold for my authory self? Well, unlike Emaneska, it looks like it won’t be stopping with Dead Stars. Over the last ten years I’ve managed to clog up several notebooks and a hard drive with story ideas and rough drafts of forgotten chapters. I think it’s best to start working on those, before they all try and drown me.
To that end, I’ve already started work on one of my most exciting ideas - a standalone fantasy set in the 1860s, mixing up the British Empire, The American Midwest, and a dash of strange magic. I can’t reveal what it will be called just yet, but trust me, it’s a big change from Emaneska. It’s all research at this point, due to the numerous real-world elements I’ll be working into the book, such as the Crimean War, assassination of Lincoln, and the American Civil War. Rest assured, you fantasy die-hards, that it will be very fantasy indeed, not historical fiction. The world I’m building, although a close echo of the true history, will be very mixed-up and unfamiliar, brandishing some strange mythology.. I’m excited about the magic (I think I may have to revert back to spelling magic without a k!) system too. It’s the crux of the book, but I can’t say any more than that. I can’t tell you a little without telling you the whole thing. Anyway, keep your eyes peeled on my Facebook or Twitter for sneak peeks, maybe in a few months!
Then of course there’s the graphic novel, which will take a whole new blog altogether!
Now that I think of it, reading back through those last two paragraphs, it’s starting to look like the end of the road isn’t quite the end of the road at all. When I count all the ideas I’ve got stewing, when I thumb through those dusty notebooks, I see things a little differently I suppose. What does Dead Stars really mean? Not the end, but the start of a very long road indeed. I’m excited by that. If Emaneska was just a warm up, then bring on the next stretch.
Thanks for reading,