The Beginning in the Middle

The title of my debut novel, Hammer & Glass (Kalleron Book IV), poses a question: Where are books one, two and three? The answer to that starts in 2016 when I decided to write a fantasy story about a mysterious girl called Chara. Without giving anything away, said story was destined for the recycling bin and subsequently recreated in various forms. It would be wrong—I would say disingenuous—to suggest this was a planned decision. In my brave new world, there lurk guardians of the written word. Most people call them agents. I call them the ambivalent gatekeepers of the printed spine. And for these pillars of the literary temples, books are the key. My problem was that the key didn’t quite fit the locks to the kingdom of consumer publishing.

It didn’t help that my first keys were cooked up as though limp spaghetti baked in crispy hope. After dozens upon dozens of silent rejections, I employed an editor in the guise of fantasy agent John Jarrold to guide my hand. It was a revelation for this Sunday writer to learn that although John approved of my story and the characters, my prose was (I can now say) awful. With John’s plentiful red lines and cries of ‘NO’ in my mind, I patiently rewrote my story, every day with his notes beside me.

This new revision was again rejected. I queried John and he was so very kind to elaborate on the numbers game of gaining an agent. And for someone like me, with no links, no fame, no luck; it was a very big ask—the numbers were astronomically stacked against me, as they are against all unknown ‘slush pile’ submissions. Despite the rejections (now the third batch for the Kalleron series stories), I wasn’t deterred. But I had a new tact. A new vision.

Hammer & Glass brought Chara back in a new story. Set one-hundred years after the events of my earlier rejected works, her story takes place in an evolution of a world following a great battle and a pivotal moment in Kalleron’s history. In Hammer & Glass you meet Goddard and Petra, but their stories, more specifically that of Petra and her loyal crew, are the focus of Kalleron books I & II. These will be the next books to be published, taking the journey back to a time when the Queen of Stone was a woman of flesh and blood. They will not be lazy rehashes, rather, a thorough re-imagining to give more weight to Goddard’s role in the story. Book III will be a new book altogether and I look forward to creating what will be the final instalment of the initial trilogy, after which Hammer & Glass follows.

Hammer & Glass was submitted to agents in Winter 2021/22. Despite nothing but highly positive reviews from a small reading group, Chara was once more left without a date for the fantasy publisher’s prom.

So, in Summer 2022 I started this journey. I commissioned my front cover from the delightful Thai artist Grandfailure (early B&W render shown), and I began formatting the book into a digital format using Atticus. This will all come together in late 2022/early 2023 when I plan to release Hammer & Glass in eBook and print editions on Amazon (update - out now). In January 2023, (having resigned from my day job to do so), I will resume writing books I & II. The story of Petra and the crew of the doomed Melody of the Sea must be told, and the world of Kalleron will dance to the end of its time to the music of fractured Elemental Gods and the scream of the Furies.