I’m now 70,000 words into the first draft of Crossways, the sequel to Empire of Dust (which comes out in November from DAW) in my Psi-tech universe. My three book deal is for two Psi-tech novels and a completely unrelated historical fantasy (already written), but the deeper I get into Crossways the more I’m thinking that this will not be the end of the Psi-tech universe.
The hook line for Crossways is: ‘What begins as a search for survivors becomes a battle for survival.’ Yes the battle for survival will happen in Crossways, but I think I’m heading for a galactic war in Book Three. (Book contract permitting.) I’ve always had a long term plan for the Psi-tech universe, so I just hope I get to write it.
I can’t explain too much of the plot of Crossways without spoilers for Empire, but things barely alluded to in Empire are coming to the fore, including the nature of ‘jumpgate travel’ and what lies in wait for the unwary in foldspace. My characters have undergone a radical change in their lives and now must become independent of the corporate empire which spawned them. My central characters remain central, but as always happens to any amorphous bunch of people, some of the minor characters go their own way and others are pulled in to the centre. Some take a bit of a break in this book, but are already angling for a book of their own. Some character seeds sown in Empire are starting to flower in Crossways and (to continue the gardening analogy) others are almost ready for pruning.
My delivery date is August, but August is a busy month for me with the London Worldcon and my writing week at Milford, so with the away-time and the preparation required for Milford I’ll loose three weeks in August. Therefore I need to achieve about 10,000 words a week over the next month to complete my first draft by the end of July and give myself a little time to set it aside and then spend the last week in August on basic revision before I send it off to my editor. That’s do-able, if tight.
Of course, there may still be a few last-minute revisions for Empire of Dust yet. I’m expecting a call from my editor this afternoon to talk about it, but she has said that any changes from now on are likely to be minor.