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Saturday, January 27, 2024

Me and My Demons

How do you like the family portrait that now adorns the top of this page?

Yes, that is myself sitting at the keyboard, no doubt diligently writing away on the next literary masterpiece. I have to say the picture flatters me. It’s now clear that I should have always been an animated character.

I’m surrounded by none other than the renowned Demon Hunter Orpheus (a.k.a. Septimus Bridge), the renowned actual demon Astaroth (a.k.a. The Fiend), and the last two Demon Hunters in the world (as far as we know) Izanami (a.k.a. Chiharu Ito) and Sapphire (a.k.a. Lola Blumquist). You will know them all from reading The Curse of Septimus Bridge and its sequel Last of the Tuath Dé. I like how the human beings are looking vaguely impatient, as if they can’t wait to see what ordeals they are going to be put through next. Meanwhile, The Fiend appears over-eager, as if he’s the one who’s going to have all the fun. All the while, I seem to be cracking a wee bit under all the pressure.

The artwork is by Tamlyn Zawalich, the same talented illustrator who produced the images for the covers of the two Demon Hunters books. It was organized as a birthday surprise by my wonderful friend Dayle, who is not only responsible for making my books read as coherently as they do but who saves my bacon with fixes, corrections and suggestions and who encourages every possible drop of quality in the final drafts.

My friend Michael once suggested that I should turn the Sapphire/Izanami tales into a graphic novel. I was immediately open to the idea, and I’m even more so now.

Maybe, though, we need to extend the saga a bit more first. If you agree, then I have good news. Writing has begun on the sequel to the sequel. I’m only on Chapter 1, but that’s where I always begin.

There has been a longer break than usual (about a year and a half) between the publication of my last book and starting the next one. I had a couple of other projects in between as well as a couple of film festivals to attend, and then it was the distracting Christmas season which, where I live, always seems to run from late October to mid-January. This is the time of year when I usually get most of my serious writing done—even more so when there is pandemic along with government-mandated lockdowns in effect.

There is no lockdown in effect at the moment, but we did have a couple of storms. Last weekend these islands were buffeted by two named storms, Isha and Jocelyn, within a three-day period with us being located in the red zone for the former. We were without electricity for a night and a day, and with phones’ and other gadgets’ batteries running down, I was eventually left without the internet but still had a fully charged laptop to work with. There was actually nothing else I could do except make things up in my head and type them out. It was as though the universe forced me to start the next book.

So yes, the next book is definitely a continuation of (addition to? complement of?) the world of Septimus, Sapphire, Izanami and all the other characters in my own little fantasy world (see illustration above). My other ideas for books—including a story set entirely in Ireland and even also possibly one that returns to the world of Dallas Green—are still out there, but they will wait and gestate a while longer.

So, where does the story—actually multiple stories—go from where we left off at the end of Last of the Tuath Dé? I have an outline, but experience suggests many things could change by the time I’ve finished fleshing it all out. Some of the familiar characters will be back, and there will also be new characters.

So, where does the story go? Let’s find out together.