It’s Sunday and tomorrow, May 13th, is the fourth anniversary of Job Hunt being released by Dreamspinner Press.
Tomorrow is also… my first release day this year! And yes, that was deliberate. A private celebration of four years of doing something I never thought would happen. So, before the nerves and the general crazy kick into overdrive and I’ll treat myself to a glass of wine to help me sleep, I’m taking a little time for myself.
To reflect. To say thank you. And to look ahead.
My writing “career” didn’t start with Job Hunt. That honour goes to a Norman Conquest / epic fantasy tale I wrote when I was 12. These days, it would probably fit onto the alt-hist shelf. Back then, I’d never even heard of the term alternative history. All I knew was, the story I had so much fun devising didn’t fit either with the historicals, or properly with fantasy. Clearly, my dislike of labels is as deeply rooted as my interest in mixing genres.
And for thirty years after that, I wrote mostly fantasy, sci-fi and historical stories. Anything that wasn’t NOW.
Writing, even once I’d stepped out of my closet and admitted to being a writer, was an escape. And contemporary anything wasn’t escapist. Because there was one story I kept trying (and failing) to tell. One story I wanted to write, that just wasn’t coming together.
That story was Jack’s story, a journey that started in Job Hunt. And I think that for all those years, I simply wasn’t in a place where I could tell this story well enough to do it justice. So I wrote space opera, and spec fic, and time travel stories, and a huge doorstop of a fantasy saga. But I never gave up hope that one day, I could tell Jack’s story.
Jack Horwood, the main character in the Power of Zero series, considers hope a concept he has little time for. It’s sheer cussedness that keeps him going, not the idea that things will get better in some as yet nebulous future. Jack doesn’t expect anything from anyone, so when Gareth suddenly steps up to have his back and strangers rally to his support, he’s suspicious rather than grateful. Though none of that stops him from reaching out and offering hope to others when they need it – and for me, that’s the most interesting thing about Jack’s journey. That he can give hope to others when he has none, and needs none, for himself.
Jack’s story, from a boy who prefers to be homeless rather than be owned by a pimp to a determined hacker-vigilante who hunts abusers and rescues abused kids, is a story of revenge. When he falls in love, and learns that a family can be a source of strength, it becomes a story of healing. But first and foremost, Jack’s story is a story about hope.
Hope can be a scary thing at times. Writing Job Hunt took courage. Submitting it and then seeing it released took courage and a big dollop of hope. That hope paid off. Many readers took Jack to their hearts, and I couldn’t possibly ask better than that.
I still mix my genres. I still dislike labels. But I’ve arrived at a place where I’m okay with that. I get to tell Jack’s story and I have a chance to experiment with all the other stories in my head, be they fantasy and sci-fi, or even historical fiction. It’s wonderfully liberating, even when it’s scary. And I thank you all for making that possible.
For now, I’ll go find that glass of wine and celebrate the last four years of books, before I toast my latest project on its way. Healing Glass, Minel and Falcon’s story, is an exploration of how taking the easy way out can cause a lot of damage. All wrapped up in glass and steel, and a brand-new fantasy world.
After that, it’s back to my teetering WiP stack… but that’s a story for another day. 🙂