2013 wrapped with me finishing the first draft of the final book in The Gateway Chronicles: The Bone Whistle. While I am far from finished with working on TGC and all that goes along with it, finishing the first draft of book 6 is very much a closing of a door, a turning of a page, a . . . whatever metaphor you want to apply to it. I'm moving on! After seven years of devoting all my writing energies to one series, I am more than ready to expand my repertoire a bit, and the first project that will demand my attention is one I've been planning for about two years. Tonight I will submit my draft of The Bone Whistle to my excellent editing team (with crossed fingers and bated breath), tomorrow I will work on a couple short beta reading projects I have committed to, and probably the day after that, I will begin serious work on Breeder.
Dystopian fascinates me. It is a sort of fantasy because the author has to imagine a world that doesn't exist, but it is also a sort of science fiction because the author has to imagine a world that could exist in the future. And from there, the possibilities are almost endless! I think Dystopian provides an excellent venue for an author to foretell a lot about what he or she believes will go wrong with the world as a result of current societal/cultural/ideological ills, and as such, as a genre, it is almost always intentionally instructive and simultaneously controversial. This presents a lot of challenges to the serious writer of Dystopia. How to instruct without being overly didactic? How to handle controversy? How far ahead to look? How to convince people of a worldview they might not otherwise consider? How to do all this WHILE keeping in mind that the primary function of a work of fiction is to entertain?
I'm looking forward to these challenges, even as some of them scare me. Breeder will be the first in a trilogy of books that I'm simply calling the Breeder Cycle, and it will be totally different from TGC - different in setting, different in tone, perspective, and voice, different in almost every way. My very young readers, and parents of my very young readers, should be informed that I don't intend this book to be for them (UNLESS parental units preview it and find it appropriate for their child, of course). I'm classifying it as New Adult, which means I'm writing it for an audience of 16-25 year olds, but I anticipate it may be appropriate for mature readers as young as 13 - again, depending on parental approval. To give you some idea of how this is different, I wrote TGC for ages 13-17, with each book maturing some along the way. Breeder must be written for an older audience because the subject matter will be weighty, and some people will find it controversial. (I don't want to leave my younger readers completely in the lurch, though, and I have some plans to that effect. But until I know anything for sure, that's all I'll say!)
So, I'll be keeping you posted throughout 2014 as to the progress of The Bone Whistle and Breeder. As I'm writing Breeder, I'll be waiting on the editorial review on The Bone Whistle, which will be followed by the substantive edit. And basically I'll be back and forth between edits on the two books following manuscript submission of Breeder in March. I also have a few trips planned for the spring to visit schools and do educational talks, signings, etc., but my schedule is not full, so e-mail me if you or your school wants to host me! firstname.lastname@example.org Cover design on both books is also well in swing, and come Spring, I'll toss you some teasers for TBW.
Overall, 2013 was a great year! I got to travel to Sydney, Australia and be a featured speaker at the Sydney Writer's Festival, I participated in two more festivals at which my books were the bestselling in their categories, I released book 5 in TGC, The Six and The Scroll became Amazon top 100 books, I had my first TV appearance, and I wrote The Bone Whistle. I'm hoping and praying for as much success, and more, in 2014. I'm so thankful to you all for making it happen!