This is it! This is the culmination of the last year’s work. No More Heroes, the third book of my space opera trilogy, comes out today. It’s the 13th book with my byline on it to be published.
When I pitched Raena’s story to Night Shade in the summer of 2013, only The Dangerous Type was done. I mentioned that I had a Nanowrimo draft of a sequel, just in case they might be interested in a series. Jeremy kept the first book for a couple of weeks, then asked to see what I had of the sequel. A week later, he came back to ask, “You can write a third book, can’t you? I told them they should offer you a contract for a trilogy.”
For the first time in my life, I wrote an outline for a novel. I submitted the proposal before I’d written a word of the book. And for the first time in my life, a publisher contracted me for more than one book.
I held off writing No More Heroes until I had the first two books finished and turned in. That meant I began to write it the first week of February 2015. I had only written one scene going in: the scene in chapter one where Raena stands in front of the alien jet bike game, wondering how she can play it because it’s built for a larger creature than she is, and Haoun, my big lizard pilot, suggests she play it with him. I knew, going in, that the subplot would be their multi-species relationship.
The plot itself was going to center on Raena being tried for her crimes. I wanted to talk about secret identities and no good deed going unpunished. I wanted to study influence, the way the first book explored persona and the second book examined memory. I wanted to consider how reliance on technology the common person doesn’t understand could be disastrous. I wanted to look at the fears that governments have and the power of the media and pull apart what a hero is.
I finished the book in May, got the notes from Jeremy, completely rewrote the ending, turned it in June 10. Spent the rest of the month going over the proofread versions of Kill By Numbers and No More Heroes, wrote some of the guest blog pieces — and June 28, I woke up with pneumonia.
It was absolutely worth it. I am really proud of No More Heroes. I got to emulate Ray Bradbury’s Mars and play with time travel, too. The Veracity‘s kids get out from under Raena’s shadow. Her relationship with Ariel becomes much clearer. Raena finally finds a boyfriend who likes her exactly the way she is. I got the solve the mystery of the Templars. And the action sequences were bigger and more fun to write than any yet.
So what’s next? I’ve got a couple of short stories set in Raena’s universe that I would like to write. I pitched a new series to Night Shade; this one’s urban fantasy, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m still toying with the idea of the Bay Area Cemeteries book.
Because, as you know, there’s no rest for the morbid. There’s writing and promotion and writing again. I’ve got 13 books with my byline on them, but there are so many more stories to tell.