It’s official: Crusade has been released into the world, doing the thing that newly released books do. Which seems to be convincing people it’s time to get around to reading Frost, now that the trilogy is complete. It’s available for sale and I encourage you to buy it (but then, I would, wouldn’t I?): Amazon US | Amazon Australia | Barnes and Noble | Direct from the Publisher.
I’m a slow writer. People don’t often believe me when I say that, since it’s coupled with my tendency to do things like try and write 600,000 words in the space of twelve months, but it’s true, nevertheless.
Case in point: Flotsam started back in the year 2000, round about the time I was looking for an idea to pursue when I applied to do a PhD after finishing my Honours. I’d just written a thesis about poetry and poetics, which is an excellent way of figuring out you don’t want to be a poet, and I’d spent about a year immersed in things like Charles De Lint’s Newford books and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.
I didn’t have the words Urban Fantasy to describe it yet, but I could see the things those books shared and I knew it was something I liked. Magic in the urban spaced, attached to outsiders. Secret worlds that we couldn’t see, existing in the cracks of the city around us. And the Gold Coast had a lot of cracks, which made it a natural setting for stories of that type. It’s also a city with a weird polyglot of cultural references, with statues of Greek gods in shopping malls and weird houses that remix the design of a Tuscan villa with elements of Balinese architecture.
Basically, the entire city is post-modernism on crack, loaded with free-floating signifiers. It wasn’t hard to get to Ragnarök from there – Loki is basically the God of Post-Modernism. The Vikings just made him up a few centuries too early to acknowledge him as such.
I wrote a few chapters in a notebook, once I came up with the idea. Nothing good, you understand, ’cause my head was still full of poetics. I could write a pretty line, but I still didn’t have the grasp of plot and character and setting that comes from sitting down and writing a bunch of prose.
And I knew it wasn’t good, so I set it aside.
I didn’t finish the PhD, but I’d keep coming back to the idea of Ragnarök on the Gold Coast, taking it out for a spin as I learned how to write. And finally, fifteen years after my first attempt, it evolved into the Flotsam series. There’s less Gaiman and De Lint in the final product – the direct influences on Flotsam are more Lee Child and Max Allen Collin’s Quarry books – but then, I’m a different writer now than I was in the year 2000 and Urban Fantasy means something very different than it did at the tail-end of the nineties.
And it’s done now, slow-poke that I am, and I can finally put the idea away and move on to the next thing.