This book was written in my first full year of working full time as an author. So here’s a bit of a consciousness dump about how it all felt.
Nothing like chucking everything you’ve been familiar with out the window… The transition from City-worker-who-writes-books to full time full-time professional writer was interesting to say the least. I’d spoken to a few writers about it and despite much sage advice, the sheer scale of the change is something I wasn’t quite prepared for.
All of a sudden I had massive amounts of time on my hands (or so it appeared) and no manager or rigid task list to complete. No deadline barring the one for the first Ascendants book and that was nine months away.
And so I made a classic mistake and did far too little in the early weeks. Yes, I read and researched, planned and jotted notes and felt terribly happy with my lot ‘being an author’. But I didn’t do nearly enough and quickly found myself a long way behind.
I wouldn’t like to say when the change happened but literally one day, I awoke to the enormity of the challenge I was facing. I couldn’t rely on what I’d known with The Raven. This was a new book, a new concept, world, plot and crucially, new characters that I couldn’t afford to be pale echoes of past favourites.
It was then I began to work and so fall in love with the Ascendants and really know why it was I felt I had to devote all my time to the project. It was, and is, huge. There was an immense amount of grounding I needed to do to make every element credible. Making battles work, the magic system logical, the religious difficulties reasonable not ridiculous… understanding the workings of the minds of rulers, senior generals, and people who are the first of their kind ever to walk the earth.
It was fascinating and I was lost in it for a time and found writing more pleasurable than ever before. Paul Jhered quickly became a huge favourite and I loved writing the dynamic between the four young Ascendants. And between them and him. I felt I was writing something important… to me if not to anyone else. I felt I was genuinely growing as an author and stepping outside my comfort zone and the challenge was exciting and frightening.
The change hadn’t finished mind you. In October, I moved in with my girlfriend and within the happiness that brought was further disruption to my work as I struggled to find a new space and rhythm.
If there was one disappointment it was that for the first time, I didn’t hit my delivery deadline. I like to think I am a disciplined author but I lost that at various times in the year. And if there is one joy it is that I genuinely feel I have written the book I set out to write. And indeed exceeded my own expectations.
I hope all who read it enjoy it for the great sweeping adventure it is meant to be.