Well, it looks like I'm writing another post and cleaning up the website again - which, given how rarely I do either, can only mean I've put another book out. However, that's two books this year so... yay? Well, maybe. But full disclosure here; I started writing this one months before I wrote the last one I published so it's been in the works for a while now.
Anyway, I may as well introduce it so here's the pretty cover I made for it, along with the blurb:
Living between two worlds isn’t easy. Bridging the divide is harder still.
Aurora is not like other children. While she is raised among humans, she is a Veya—a member of a wandering alien race entrenched in a war with humanity that began before she was even born.
As she reaches adulthood and is torn from the only family she's known, Aurora attempts to bridge the divide between the humans and her kind to put an end to the fighting once and for all.
But with the world falling apart around her, aggressors on both sides and treachery undermining her every move, Aurora discovers the road to peace is not an easy one to follow.
If however she abandons it, the consequences will be catastrophic...
Exploring the challenges of staying true to oneself in the face of adversity, The Veya Child is a powerful coming-of-age tale, intimate in its focus and epic in its scope.
I have to say I was relieved when I finished writing this book. I enjoyed writing it, sure, but there were many times when I thought I’d given myself an impossible task. I’ve never written a novel in a dystopian setting before so I was outside my comfort zone for starters but there were numerous more challenges involved in the project. The Veya Child would be a coming-of-age story, covering years of the central character’s life, told through two different perspectives. It would also be an intimate story, yet it would take place in the midst of seriously earth-shattering events. And it would also contain subtle links to The Martian Archaeologist and the Star Frontier series, which are otherwise unrelated to this book and each other.
So that was a lot to juggle but I was confident I could handle it. But the real challenge was writing about a dystopian future while living in a dystopian present. I mean, let’s face it, the world’s kind of in a mess right now. And while I may have intended to have a dystopian setting for my story, I didn’t want it to be this dystopian!
So when I resumed the story this year after putting it aside for many months, I had to consciously distance it from the past two years. The ecological crises facing the world still played a part in it as that had always been intended but otherwise I tried to put the events of 2020 and 2021 out of my mind. That helped a lot.
The other thing that helped was having the right setting. Given the kind of apocalyptic events that take place during the story, I needed to place my characters somewhere out of the way where they could convincingly avoid the worst of them. I settled on the northwest coast of the United States as it had all the prerequisites I wanted. For instance, I didn’t find it a stretch to imagine that alien ships launching orbital strikes wouldn’t bother with an out-of-the-way town like Newport, Oregon where a lot of it's set.
That said, I’d never written a story in a real location before. For the Fringe City novels, which are also set on Earth, the titular city was a fictional one, as was the town in The Sun Always Sets. It really saves on research! But for some reason, I wanted to use real places this time so I engaged in a bit of armchair travel and learned about them while I wrote. And in doing so, I came to really like them. There’s just so much incredible scenery in Oregon and Washington State with the beautiful forests and spectacular mountains. I almost wished the characters could have had a little time to do some sightseeing during the story but it might have derailed the pace a little. In one scene, I recall thinking the characters would be able to see Mt Rainier if the weather was clear but I wanted a snow fog to create the right atmosphere for it so they had to miss out. Oh well.
So to the people who live in that area of the world, you’ve got a great spot there. I enjoyed seeing it through all the wonderful photographs I found online and I hope you appreciate how lucky you are to live in such a beautiful place. Now, just a heads up - some parts of the area get pretty trashed in the story so I'm sorry about that. But if it’s any consolation, they fared better than most of the world.
Anyway, if you check the story out, I hope you enjoy it. Stay safe.