|The final book; editing phase|
Halcyone Space began in a moment of anger and frustration. I was getting very little traction with my prior books and decided to write a story with an ensemble cast that nobody would like. (Yes, I am not proud of my 5-year-old tantrum phase.)
I created an unpleasant loner. A drug dealer. An obnoxious child prodigy. A stoner musician. In space.
And these were the protagonists.
Ultimately, my baseline good humor and equanimity returned and I was able to take the first premise, put forward during a fit of pique, and transform it into the story of a derelict space ship and its unwilling and accidental crew.
DERELICT was completed in 2012 and was my 8th written novel. It was published in June of 2014 and at the time, I had no real intention of turning it into a series.
But then something utterly unexpected and quite magical happened - it struck gold on Amazon and sold more copies than I could have dreamed of. And I realized there was more to tell about Ro Maldonado and her crew.
Since the publication of DERELICT in 2014, every summer has seen a new Halcyone Space book. The characters have grown and changed. The politics have become increasingly complex and compelling. The stakes have ramped up, both on an individual and galactic level. These stories have taken me places I never would have anticipated, especially to a post-climate change earth even more divided into haves (highsiders) and have-nots (settlement 'deeps' - displaced persons) than our world is.
Along the way, the characters have become quite real. Some writers describe it as the characters talking to them, or dictating the story. For me, it's more like the characters have taken up residence in my brain somewhere and when I'm fortunate, they allow me to eavesdrop.
Their voices and personalities have become quite distinct.
I have recently finished the major revision pass of A STAR IN THE VOID; the fifth and final book of the series. The characters are currently standing around looking puzzled. I'm feeling quite lost and more than a little lonely.
In some ways, this was the most difficult book I've ever written. (For those of you keeping track, this is book number 14). It took me a long time to figure out why and when I finally did, I totally had the "V8" moment: It's a lot harder to finish a series than to start it.
For each of the prior books, the world and the story expands. Have a problem as a writer? Throw a new issue at your characters. Now add a ticking clock. And someone or something in peril.
Easiest way out of blocked creativity ever!
But then came book 5.
Finally, I was faced with the need to pull it all back together in a way that fit the series organically and would be satisfying to the reader, without throwing in new shiny distractions for the characters. And all while saying goodbye to my imaginary friends.
The only thing that would have make it harder would have been to do it backwards and in high heels.
Really, I'm a terrible dancer.
But I digress.
When I wrote the final chapters, there were moments when I cried. Studies have shown that what we imagine is as real as our experiences and I've been imagining these people and their world for a very long time. We've been together more than six years. As much as I've been the architect of their adventures, they've also changed me. I don't think you can create something without being altered by it.
So I will take some time to mourn the loss of this world that has been as real to me as my day to day life and characters who have become dear friends.
And now, as I prepare to ready this fifth and final installment of Halcyone Space, I understand that it is no longer my story. It belongs to the universe.
A STAR IN THE VOID.