I PUBLISHED MY FIRST NOVEL a few years ago, a genre-bending, multi-timeline thriller called The Aeschylus. It was an exercise in self belief. Even before it was released, I was told there was no market for a political thriller meets horror novel. It was too violent. The name was too weird. For the most part, those things turned out not to be true, and it did find a narrow but attentive audience. After its release, though, there were still a number of things I felt I needed to learn as an author. The Aeschylus is very plot heavy. A little raw. Not as character-driven as it could be.
They say you write your first book for yourself and your next book for your audience. I don’t know if that’s true, but The Aeschylus is certainly full things I love: monsters, mercenaries, greedy corporations, gun fights, explosions, and pre-WW2 history. That said, I didn’t want to retread the same ground. To evolve as a writer—and a human, honestly—I needed to write something more personal. More driven by its characters than its plot machinations. To be blunt, I had a lot of work to do.
Since then, I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words. Most of them will never see the light of day. But a few have coalesced into something quite special. I have more projects in the works than ever before, and more importantly, I’m getting faster.
The Devil’s Mistress was a difficult novel in terms of preparation and research, but the book itself was written in just a few months. The path to publishing was even quicker. My first query got a maybe, my second got a yes. That pretty much never happens. It’s been a year, and I’m still amazed and grateful. That doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s cup of tea, but it does mean somebody somewhere will probably like it. I hope.
I guess this is a long way of saying I’ve finally climbed out of the creative dungeon. Things are happening. Words are appearing. There are more projects on the way, and my cats are angrier than ever at all the constant keyboard tapping. More news soon.
And if you do happen to pick up The Devil’s Mistress, my friends, give me a shout and let me know what you think.