My A-Z theme this year is a guide to my trilogy of novels called ‘The State Trilogy’. Set in an unnamed island country known only as ‘The State’, in the imagined near future, the books follow the intertwining stories of a number of characters, principally a State police detective named Danny Samson and an assassin, Gabriella Marino, over a period of six years. It begins with the assassination of an elected official and spirals into revolution and civil war. Part political thriller, action story, war story and dystopian science fiction, the trilogy took three years to complete and the books are available to read now – you can find links to purchase them HERE
In The State Trilogy, ‘A’ stands for:
Assassin: At the start of the first book, the character of Gabriella Marino is introduced. At this moment she is an assassin for hire. The character of a female assassin, and the opening image of the novel, were actually originally in a short 100-word story I wrote for a prompt on my blog. At the time I had no thought of fleshing this character out and expanding on her, but unbeknown to me, with that story the seeds of the entire trilogy began. You can read the original short story on my blog HERE
Amazon: Once the first novel was complete I briefly toyed with trying to publish through the traditional channels. Once I had sent my manuscript off to a handful of literary agents and received no acknowledgment or reply, I realised I did not have the time to invest in chasing this dream (alongside a full-time job and parenthood). Rather than give up, I looked for an alternative and decided to self-publish. By far the easiest and most accessible place which provided the biggest market was Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), via Amazon. I have since expanded to sell on other online sites – B&N, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords and Apple iBook – but Amazon remains the place that does the most sales. The downside to all these places and self-publishing in general – getting yourself noticed in a crowded market. I still haven’t figured out the answer to that one, but I keep trying (see also Advertising below).
Appalachia: The Civil American States, the continent previously known as the United States of America, is split into two halves by a nuclear explosion which triggers the First Strike War. The eastern seaboard is known as Appalachia. The name is taken from the name given to this area for prehistoric times (taken from the Appalachian Mountains), when dinosaurs walked the Americas and the middle of the continent was a vast sea that split the continent in two. That sea is now a vast area of land that is inhospitable due to radiation fallout. Although mentioned, the novels don’t visit Appalachia. The western seaboard is known as Laramidia (see the letter ‘L’ post).
Archie Cancio: Archie is a detective who appears briefly in the second novel, ‘State Of Denial’. Always intended as a minor character I grew to like him. He’s a sort of dogmatic, honest detective, not spectacular or flamboyant, but good at what he does. I would have liked to have included him in more of the story but there wasn’t room in the plot to bring him back. Perhaps he will feature somewhere else in another story one day!
African Union: In the imagined geography of the near future world that the story is set in, the countries of Africa have come together into a bloc called the African Union. There is such an organisation at the moment, but it is limited in scope and influence, and I imagined it developing to bring together the continent and make it more of a powerful player on the world stage. Although none of the action in the plot takes place in the African Union, it is involved in the global First Strike War that provides the backdrop to the story. It is also an Africa that is much more politically influential and powerful in the world, and which is seen as a peaceful and tolerant place, as opposed to the war-torn Civil American States or the intolerant and isolationist State.
Architecture: I don’t pretend to be an expert on architecture, but in the future world I wanted to create, I imagined what might happen in a country, and a world, that was dealing with overcrowding, sustainability of resources, and a commitment to provide all citizens with accommodation. The answer to all those questions seemed to me to lie in a uniform solution – row upon row of identical dwellings, built with simple design and sustainable materials, which take up limited space. So, in the State, all modern buildings are simple white cubes, no more than two or three storeys high. There still exist some of the old brick buildings with decorative exteriors – the City Parliament or the Old Town castle – and one or two high-rises – police headquarters and the hospital, but the white cubes gave a possible solution and a striking visual for the megalopolis of the future.
Advertising: It’s quite simple in one way – you get back what you put in. I have very little spare budget to pay for advertising my books. I use all my social media channels and this blog and garner a few sales that way. Occasionally I will splash out and pay for adverts to run on Facebook, Instagram and Amazon. The Amazon ones are the best value, delivering decent results and a sale here or there. I’ve yet to experience any uplift in sales from ads run on Facebook. Their targeting just isn’t focussed enough to attract the right buyers. It’s much more complicated if you have a budget and want to drill down into the real detail of advert placement, targeting and so on. There are guides out there to help you, but again, it’s time and money and effort and a full-time job in itself.
All the entries in the A-Z of ‘The State Trilogy’ can be found HERE
The books are available from a wide selection of online retailers, including AMAZON