Many years ago, The Black podcast resulted in my first Parsec Award and the novel itself was my first bestseller. It brought a lot of people to my work and still does. Today, I nuked the podcasts and the YT vids in prep for the new editions. It hurt. It really hurt.
I hadn’t expected that, to be honest. Ever since I immersed myself into The Derelict Saga, my favorite mistake of all time, The Black became this series I was associated with, loved for, and didn’t want to write anymore.
Wait. I didn’t want to write it anymore?
No. I didn’t.
The challenge of a series like The Black is finding ways to constantly raise the stakes, do something new with the creature the audience hasn’t witnessed in previous volumes, and make it all advance both the mythos of the creature and the characters caught in its maelstrom.
At some point, you feel like your plumbing the ridiculous just to put out another book. I didn’t want to be that person. Still don’t.
Fear of failure is a special neuroses that all folks have at some point or another. You’d think after so many years of writing books that didn’t sell, but were well received, I’d be completely immune to that kind of self-doubt. I’m not. Probably never will be.
It wasn’t until after I struggled my way through Evolution that I saw a new book that could successfully wrap up the entire series. I started work on it, but Derelict: Trident demanded to be written, and therefore, I abandoned Extinction yet again.
However, Oceania popped into my head. A chance to do something new, something cool, and drag one of my favorite characters from the series into a new and hazardous situation that spawns new horrors, new possibilities, and more importantly, would add significant portions to the mythos that will help Extinction become an absolutely incredible finale for the series.
I think the series is well served by my extended absence from it. Perhaps it will do even better with someone else’s voice reading my words and adding their non-mush-mouth performance to the tales.
For better or worse, the deal is done, and it’s time to move forward into an uncertain future.
RIP, old me.