The downstairs bathroom renovations are in full swing this week, which means very early mornings, plenty of noise and many disruptions. Hardly the most conducive atmosphere for a writer but since it will cost a pretty penny, the stories must flow. And thus, I have new developments to report.
As much as it pains me to say this, I find myself forced to shelve the next Siobhan Dunmoore story. I’ve been struggling with it since last September and simply can’t get into the groove. Something about it isn’t working, and after 15,000 words or about five chapters, I still can’t figure out what. Dunmoore stopped speaking to me, and nothing I’ve tried has helped. Instead, I’ve decided to launch into a fresh project, something that’s been sitting in the back of my mind for a long, long time. It’s a new series (yes, another one—but since the first Quis Custodiet book hasn’t found a big audience yet, I’ll be letting that series grow at a slower rate).
I’ve tentatively called this new project Ashes of Empire. For those of you who’ve read No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) already, this might sound familiar. The plotline goes as follows. A thousand years after the Commonwealth is extinguished and replaced by an empire, to avoid another ruinous civil war, the unthinkable finally happens, and human civilization falls into a death spiral from which there is no escape. A battalion of elite Imperial Pathfinders, sent to protect a corrupt imperial governor general on far-off Coraline is facing a horrible death at the hands of blood-maddened rebels. Until, that is, the remains of an Imperial Navy squadron, led by the fast attack cruiser Vanquish, passes through the system as it flees a losing battle and hears their distress signal. So starts a desperate attempt to stave off the long night of barbarism that would see humanity fall back to pre-spaceflight if not pre-industrial levels and confined to its myriad worlds for millennia. That is if entire populations aren’t wiped out first, be it through the civil war raging across the galaxy or at the hands of marauding aliens. I’ve tentatively called the first in this series Imperial Sunset, with Imperial Night and further volumes to follow. Contrary to the Dunmoore, Decker and Morrow series, these will not be standalone adventures, nor will they follow a single set of characters through each installment since the planned story arc will cover lengthy time periods.
I’m excited by this new storyline. Even though it’s set in the same universe as my other series, putting it in the far future, long after history has forgotten Siobhan Dunmoore, Zack Decker, Hera Talyn and Caelin Morrow, will allow me to explore different themes. I’ve already written the first two chapters in the space of two days, in spite of the noise of hammering, sawing and drilling from downstairs, and my fingers can barely keep up with the geyser of ideas.
So, my apologies to Dunmoore fans, but I can’t force something that doesn’t want to come along. Trying to do otherwise makes for poor storytelling. I’m hoping that by delving into the thirty-sixth century, I might regain a connection to our Siobhan’s twenty-fifth. Decker fans need not fear. He’s still speaking to me, so there will be a seventh installment, and I’ve already outlined the second Caelin Morrow murder case. And if you haven’t read No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) yet, you’re in for a treat.