y1 is no longer my latest book and I feel strangely sad about that. Because of the way the three stories of x0, y1 and z2 overlap in time, some of the writing was done in parallel and I pushed myself hard to get the ideas for all three down on paper while it was all fresh in my head. So it has only been five short months since y1 was published and now a have a brand new little book called z2.
I felt that x0 was the book I wrote to prove to myself that I could write a book. Indeed, I learned that writing a whole entire novel is a lot of hard work. It requires organizational skills and patience and other qualities I never envisioned great authors having. And given my penchant for research, and my insistence on adding links throughout the book, I arguably made the process even more complicated than it had to be. But I did it and in the end there was a real live book produced and it is one that isn’t half bad. In the eyes of many it might benefit from my losing some of the facts and extraneous material that I personally love, but at least for folks who share my interests and style, it seems to work.
y1, however, was the book I wrote to prove that I could write a second book, and a novel that wasn’t in any way autobiographical. I had more fun with it. The plot has more twists, the villains are more believable, and setting in the South Pacific is frankly more appealing to most than Nigeria. Is it a better book? It probably has more mainstream appeal. Its biggest issue so far seems to be that it is stuck in a collection of novels labeled science fiction, and yet y1 itself barely qualifies as such. Readers mostly like it, it’s just not what they were expecting.
So what do I think about z2? Honestly?
Well, its greatest strength and weakness are that it suffers from a bad case of “hell, I can really do this shit!” I had a lot of fun writing this book as well, but I let myself try new techniques and I admit up front that they may not work for everyone. My style of jumping between interweaving story lines is more pronounced here, and I sometimes jump through time as well as space to make my point. There is rhythm to it that becomes apparent pretty quickly, and I’ve been told that if a reader sticks with me through the first thirty or so pages my approach starts to seem normal and even becomes pleasant. I just have to hope my readers will give it that chance.
Each book, and the entire process of putting it together, has been a huge learning experience. Note some of the rejected cover ideas for each novel shown here. The character Jake in z2 is in some ways my alter-ego, expressing what I have concluded from this “going from one blank piece of paper to three complete novels in just under two years” experience. What does Jake discover? Oh please, please read z2 and find out.
(Check out my post on my blog for x0 here for the second half of my thoughts on this subject.)