Around the time I was finishing up Burying Gabe (BG), I knew that the three characters who don’t appear in BG (because reasons) were crying out for a chance to speak for themselves.
Whilst editing Parisienne Skies, I wrote a first draft of “Vespertine Begins” (that’s the working title) where Nev, Carrie and Schroeder have their time to shine. We’re currently editing it to within an inch of its life and I hope to have it out around Christmas time.
It *might* be called “Seven Worlds Will Collide: A Vespertine And All Who Sail In Her Story” once I publish it. 7WWC is a title I’ve previously used elsewhere, as those who’ve known me for a long time will attest. I’m still vacillating over that and may yet choose something else, but I’ll tell you this much. It won’t be called “Vespertine Begins”!
I like dwelling in the Lady Vespertine universe. There’s so much more to come from there, and from Ganymede Station too. Just watch this space!
It’s time for another installment of my “Infrequently Asked Questions” series! As you will have seen from the title of this post, today let’s find out “what inspired Parisienne Skies, Full of Strangers?”
I’m glad you asked. (Yes yes, I know you didn’t, but indulge me for a moment or two.)
The initial spark that lit the candle was Casablanca, which I implore you to see, if you haven’t already. The idea of Rick and Elsa’s powerful but unfulfilled love in troubled times (World War 2 in their case) fascinated me. That they had been parted but still held a torch for each other. From there, my story took on a life of its own and filled out in directions I hadn’t anticipated. My Rick had a wife, Bogart’s Rick didn’t. Monique is single but Elsa is married. Most of my action takes place away from the bar and we take in some of the sites of Paris. I have Google Streetview to thank for giving me the ability to describe the scenery as I’ve never actually been to the French capital! The closest I’ve been is sitting on the Eurostar in Lille Station en route to Bruges.
The only two direct nods I made to the original movie are that the leading man is called Rick and his drinking establishment is “Rick’s Café Américain” in Casablanca and “Le Bar Américain” in PS. There would’ve been a third but I knew I had to ditch the working title “Space Casablanca”. I’m surprised that no-one picked up on that influence but it must be more subtle than I thought.
In closing, a fervent wish. Should any passing producer director take a fancy towards televising/filming PS, I’d like them to cast Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones) as Rick and Thandie Newton (Maeve in Westworld) as Monique. Not much to ask, is it? 😊
Oh yes, yesterday (2nd June 2020) marked the publication of my second novelette, the abovementioned Parisienne Skies, Full of Strangers.
It has been a long labour, bringing this one to fruition. The earliest notes I can find for it are dated early 2016, and like Burying Gabe, it had a long fallow period when I didn’t know where to go with it. I was still adding new bits just two weeks ago!
It’s available from Amazon worldwide – click here to find it on the UK site (you can probably navigate to your own Amazon from there).
Wow, it has been quite a while since I last wrote.
In the mean time, I’ve done a very random Nanowrimo where I crossed the finishing line again. Although there’s not much that can be salvaged from the document that I produced last November, it has served an important purpose. I’m now writing at least every weekday, hurray!
I’ve been working on that prequel to Burying Gabe that I promised, last year. The prequel has a working title but I’m hoping to come up with something better before I bring it to light. I should mention that “Burying Gabe” was meant to be a working title but I never fell upon anything better that fitted as well, so we shall see.
I’ve also gone back to the project that I’ve been editing with he who shall be known as “Strong Silent Type” for now. “Parisienne Skies, Full of Strangers” is a completely different kettle of fish to BG, and I hope to be bringing it to you, fairly soon.
There will be more bloggage when I have further news, my friends! Until then:
The positive reaction to Burying Gabe has been amazing. Thanks to everyone who has shelled out 99 pence (or the equivalent in their own national currency) to buy and read my modest SF confection.
A couple of readers have asked “will there be more from the crew of the Lady Vespertine?” The answer is a solid yes as I’ve already got one idea in mind for another adventure, though it won’t be my next publication, or even the one after that. Another of my stories is about to be ruthlessly edited to within an inch of its life with my long-suffering fiancé M, and in the meantime I’m writing the first draft of the story after that. As M says: I’ve got a right little conveyor belt going on here!
As to Sam and the gang on the LV: I’ve got another, less developed idea in mind. I’ll be honest, it’s only come to me since I started writing this post. I feel I would like to get to know the crew at an earlier stage, before the devastating events of BG. I’d also like to use this prequel story to explain why Sam has two scientists in his ship’s complement, which no-one has yet questioned.
Believe me. I’ve been waiting for it 😉
So once I’m done writing this post, I’ll open a fresh word file. I’ll type the words “Lady Vespertine Crew Untitled Prequel Notes” at the top of the page and add the small crop of ideas that have already taken root in my head.
So you’ve read my newly published story and I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve thought it too.
“‘Burying Gabe’ isn’t a very Science Fiction title, is it?”
You’re right. I entirely agree. The story got this title very early on and I fully expected that I’d think of something more fitting and more SF-y before I ever uploaded it to Amazon. To be brutally honest, I don’t like these “verb-name” titles – Guarding Tess, Regarding Henry etc. Nearly four years passed from my initial idea to the publishing. During that time, I pondered it a lot. And I still didn’t come up with a better title.
So ‘Burying Gabe’ stuck. And isn’t likely to change!
I’d had a really long dry spell when it came to inspiration and hadn’t written much new stuff in the middle of the decade. In the summer of 2015, I did a free online course on the Macondo novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez whose work I’ve enjoyed for a long time. I was particularly enchanted by the novella Leaf Storm, which covers half an hour in the lives of three people waiting in a room with a dead body. The three viewpoints thing fascinated me, and at the same time, I began to think about what happens when someone dies in space, how the remains are dealt with etc. That was where I diverged from the Great Gabo and where Burying Gabe (BG) became its own beast.
You began BG in 2015. Why has it taken you nearly four years to finish and publish it?
I got really stuck with it for about 18 months. At first I wasn’t convinced it needed to go beyond the original concept of three people and a body in a room and put it on a back burner whilst I worked on other stories. Eventually I realised that there had to be more to this story than what I had so far, and figured I might as well push it a bit further and see where I went with it, and it worked so well that I stuck with it!
Go on, tell ’em about your in-house editor…
I don’t know that he wants me to mention him! I wouldn’t have got this far without the support and input of my fiancé Matthew. He’s helped me polish a rough story into something that makes sense, and we’ve corrected typos, formatting and grammar together. It’s our baby, and I love that he’s interested enough to be involved in the editing and story development. Don’t listen to him if he claims that he wrote the joke in the final third, though. That was definitely mine!
What should the reader expect to see from you next?
I have other stories in progress. One in particular is getting close to a completed first draft, at which point we shall begin to edit it. When I’ve published 10 or so stories as Kindle Singles, I plan to publish them all together in a paperback anthology but that’s some way off. I have enough ideas knocking around to make it a reality. I just need to put in the work!