So, I finished a book today. It’s called Queen of Clouds*. Those of you who’ve been paying attention will be all like: Oh, good job, son, well done, but didn’t you just have a book out? In addition to the one that came out this time last year? And don’t forget that anthology last autumn too. That’s loadsa books! Those that have really been paying attention will know that this is the novel I’ve had on the go for a few years and, yes indeed, it is a good job and it is well done. At last.
There are many reasons for why it took so long to complete, but they all boil down to the fact that – like anything else – writing a novel is something that takes practice. This is only my second bash at it and from the beginning I realised that the story wanted to be a “young lad from the sticks, discovers he has ‘powers’ and goes off, via Adventures, to save the world” tale. And I resisted that narrative at every turn.
See, it’s a personal thing but I’ve always found stories about heroes – individuals with ‘powers’** – really flimsy. False, even. I just don’t like them. So, what I tried to do in this book – what I’ve felt my way towards over the last few years is create a narrative of powerlessness. The world is very much in peril, but no matter how many promises he makes to those who need his help, the hero just doesn’t have the chops to save everyone. But he does find hope and light and a way forward, which is about the best anyone can expect.
For me that’s a truer and more engaging story, and one that reflects the modern world.
I hope at some point you’ll all be able to read it and decide for yourselves.
*and it’s the story of how the world in The Moon King came to be
**yes, most especially superheroes