This has been a huge summer for my writing in more than one way. I released the final book in the Internal Defense series in May, and since then I’ve watched the series begin to take on a life of its own. Ever since I released the first book I’ve gotten the strange experience of my books becoming more than what I made them, touching the lives of people I’ve never met, but never have I felt this more acutely than this summer. There’s an indescribable mix of pride and bewilderment that comes when you happen across total strangers discussing your books amongst themselves, or when a friend texts you to say, “You’ll never guess what the woman sitting next to me on the bus today was reading...”
And even as the series has been growing beyond me, I’ve been growing beyond it. Ever since I released The Torturer’s Daughter, I’ve been pushing myself to put out the next book, and the next. I wanted to share Becca’s story with the world, and the strength of that story pulled me forward. But that rush to get the series out was as much a product of stress and pressure as it was of that pull, and while I’ve always been a huge proponent of the Butt-In-Chair school of writing, there’s a difference between “sit down every day and get the work done” and “get the book done now, faster faster faster.” Namely, one gets a book written, the other just gets a writer (or at least this writer) that much closer to losing her mind. (And let’s face it, we writers already have heads full of imaginary people. We really don’t need any more help in that regard.)
So this summer I took a step back. I gave my mind a rest, and gave my creative brain time to play. I gave myself time to explore my next project, and figure out what I want it to look like.
The new series will be longer than Internal Defense (think Harry Potter), and its futuristic world will be very different from the scarily-familiar bureaucracy of Becca’s dystopia. But it will involve a lot of the same core themes – tough moral choices, survival in a grim and dangerous world, finding hope in hopeless situations, and a heroine learning her own kind of strength.
(Oh, and parents who kill people. That too.)
I can’t give you an estimate yet on when the first book will be out. This is a big series, with plot threads that have to be carefully coordinated from book to book. As tempting as it is to share it as quickly as possible, I want to make sure I’m giving it the time and attention it deserves. But I can promise you I’ll make it worth the wait.
But to tide you over while you wait, I do have a short story out in a new anthology that was released earlier this fall. The anthology is called Celestial, and it’s a collection of YA stories in a variety of genres – the only requirement was that each story had to involve a comet in some way. I’ve read all the stories, and it was interesting to see everyone’s take on the theme – no two authors approached it in quite the same way. But at the same time, the theme really makes all the stories feel like they belong together. My own contribution to the anthology is “The Sleeping Goddess,” a fantasy short story I like to describe as “a love story about genocide and human sacrifice.” We’re waiting to officially announce the anthology until Amazon makes it free, but if you can’t wait, you can grab it now for 99 cents:
If you want to find out when it’s available for free – or just want to know when the new series is out – you can sign up for my email updates here.
I hope you all have a wonderful fall, whether you’re poring through research books like I am (why could I only find a single outdated book to explain the crucial bits of science I need for this project, and why must it be written so densely?), taking advantage of the cooler weather to relax on the couch with a book and a mug of cider (this is what I wish I were doing when I’m trying to decipher said research book…), or just sitting outside watching the leaves fall. And if you happen to be in the New England area this October, stop by Apple Harvest Day in Dover, NH on October 4th to say hi and pick up signed copies of my books!
To learn more about Zoe Cannon and her books, head to her about the author page.