Just an update to let you know that my debut novel, The Reality War: Book 1 — The Slough of Despond, is progressing well. The copy editor is polishing his report, and cover art is moving forward. I’m working as hard as I can on the rewrite to book2 (The Narrow Path), which should be published within weeks of book1.
The copy editor said the cliffhanger ending of book1 was cruel Well, I never said I was a nice guy. There’s a (hopefully) big surprise at the end of the first book. They think it’s all over… but with a two-book series, it can’t be that simple…
Long time readers of my blog might be asking The Reality What? This is the book that used to be called My Future in the Past, until too many people said that was too boring a title. Guys mostly, to be honest.
At one level, the novels tell a time travel and alternate history story. It’s also a fractured love story and an echo of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. When I first sketched out the story, this connection with John Bunyan and the location of Elstow, the village where he lived, was what is rather grandly called intertextuality. In other words, I was drawing allusions to The Pilgrim’s Progress because that seemed an interesting thing to do, not because it was actually a part of the plot. But my world-building has a heavily literal slant to it. I like to know for myself how everything slots together in my worlds, and that mindset doesn’t think highly of coincidence or intertextuality.
So in the version that will be published, the story only makes sense to be set in Elstow, and the connection with John Bunyan is no coincidence. In each of two rival timelines, there is a protagonist making parallel spiritual journeys, just like Christian, the protagonist of The Pilgrim’s Progress; there is a reason for this.
For writers thinking about settings for their novels, I wrote a short article about why I chose Elstow here.