THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: B

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, ‘B’ stands for:

Beginnings: There are two beginnings – one is the start of the story, the other is how the story came about. The first book, ‘A Justified State’, starts with the assassination that begins the chain of events that we follow through the trilogy. It was always my idea to start in this way and I wrote this scene long before I had worked out exactly where the rest of the novel would go. This is where we meet Gabriella. I also knew we should meet our other main character, Detective Danny Samson at a low point in his life. He is drifting along, depressed and alone. The case he becomes embroiled in forces him to start engaging with life again.

The other ‘beginning’ was the idea behind writing the novel in the first place. I knew I wanted to write a political thriller, and I wanted to set it in my own country of Scotland and my own city, Glasgow. However, the ever-changing political landscape of Scotland – primarily the ongoing campaign for independence from England and the United Kingdom – meant it was difficult to place a political story that wouldn’t date quickly. The solution was to invent The State – a country going through some of the issues that Scotland is faced with, and geographically based on Glasgow, Scotland and Britain, but never actually named as such….and from there the story developed.

Bruce: Bruce is one of the elders in the village were Danny Samson ends up living for a few months during his escape from the city to the wilderness. The settlement is run by a group of elders who are in charge of making decisions in the best interests of the occupants. The village exists out with the control of the State government, consisting of people who refused to move into the cities when the wilderness was cleared of human inhabitants for the benefit of the environment, or those who have subsequently fled from the cities in order to escape the rule of the State and the Central Alliance Party. The name ‘Bruce’ is of course a deliberate nod to the Scottish King Robert the Bruce.

Byron ‘Buzz’ Mayfield: ‘Buzz’ Mayfield is the editor of the Star Tribune, the only media outlet in the State that is not controlled directly by the government. A veteran reporter, Buzz spends his time trying to placate the ruling party when they are unhappy with the coverage they are given, and ensuring the constant threat of their licence being revoked by the government is not acted upon. The other media outlets in the State, including the only television news channel, are state-owned and controlled. He is the boss of young reporter Maxine Aubert, a central character in the second novel, ‘State Of Denial’.

Billings, Montana: The back drop to the world outside the borders of The State is a global conflict in which the State sides with her allies – the African and European Union and the Civil States of America against the Axis Powers of the Republic of Zhonghua and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and others. This war is called the First Strike War, after the nuclear attack which sparked the conflict. The first strike destroyed the city of Billings in Montana and the nearby town of Columbus. The fallout from the nuclear blast renders the Civil States of America in two, with the centre of the continent a no-go contaminated zone. However, as the story develops, it seems the nuclear attack which destroyed Billings may not have been exactly as it first appeared. Why did I choose Billings, Montana? I needed a big city that was also fairly anonymous and not widely known, unlike, for example New York or Los Angeles. I don’t know anyone from Billings, but if you’re reading this – sorry for nuking your city!

Next up – C is for: Central City and Capital City, Central Alliance Party, Casper, Cassandra ‘Cas’ Ford and Climate Change

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

48 responses to “THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: B”

  1. […] Next up – B is for: Beginnings, Bruce, Byron ‘Buzz’ Mayfield and Billings, Montana […]

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  2. I’ve written scenes that come to me and then felt incapable of developing them any further. After reading your ‘beginnings’ today, I feel I can use the discarded scene to weave into a story rather than force a story out of a scene, Cheers for that.
    https://artismoments.blogspot.com/2021/04/b-is-for-bride-in-land-of-gods.html

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sure, the advice is never throw any writing away – you never know when it might come back and be useful! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Excellent post. In my own thrillers, I find dating the story the hardest. With COVID, it’s very difficult to write anything that involves face to face. My solution, dating stories in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely agree Susanne. My latest book is set in the present day, and trying to guess what the lockdown restrictions will be in a few months time is a nightmare!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We expected things to improve here once the vaccine rollout was underway, but with the variants, they are worse than ever, Hoping things will begin to improve soon.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Fingers crossed for you. We’re looking forward to seeing family over Easter – outside so long as the weather stays nice – first time since Christmas we have been able to meet.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL. What did Billings ever do to you, man? That made me laugh. Have a great day Iain. Thanks for sharing more about your series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I felt guilty, but I had to blow somewhere up!! 😉

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  5. Hari Om
    … the way things are going, there might be some level of the prophetic! And the resurgence of the USSR? … I have assigned myself to read at least three of the very long waiting list in my library before I get to this trilogy… but my appetite is surely whetted! YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I was trying to imagine things that might happen, although of course, most probably will not! But I tried to make it believable. lad your appetite is whetted! 🙂

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  6. It’s interesting but wise that you chose a fictitious location rather than your homeland given the uncertainty of the straining link between Scotland and the UK. A new beginning? Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all up in the air at the moment, and 5 weeks until Scottish parliament election day. Glad I made the decision to keep it unnamed in the book or they might be out of date already!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Clever way to promote your books and draw in new readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the plan! Thanks for stopping by Maria.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Gotta admit, these tidbits are intriguing, both in terms of the actual works and your process.🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, glad they are inspiring some intrigue 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I bet someone one day will write you and tell you he’s not happy because you choose Billings ;))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When that happens I will know I have finally made it as a writer! 😉

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  10. I spent 3 weeks in Scotland in 2019 and absolutely loved it there (the land of my ancestors). That would have made a great location for your books, but what a fantastic solution to create The State.

    Trudy @ Reel Focus
    Movies reflect human needs: Belonging

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Trudy, an upcoming election soon, so politics to the fore again. I think I did the right thing, or the books might be out of date pretty soon!

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  11. Enjoying this look behind the scenes!

    David – @BreakerOfThings from
    Fiction Can Be Fun
    Saying hello as part of the #A2ZChallenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David, glad they are of some interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I like the way you are using real life element with a speculative twist. It’s always an interesting technique 🙂

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – The Great War

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always think it helps to ground stories in a bit of reality, no matter how fantastical. Thank you!

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  13. Was really interesting to read how you came up with the idea. Also I will now probably read your future posts/comments in a Scottish accent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely, just pretend its Sean Connery or Ewan McGregor reading them 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I laughed out loud when you apologized to the people of Billings. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel I owe them it, killed them all off in one go…! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I found it quite interesting how the beginning of the novel came about and the formation of the State. Over the years, I have always had this penchant for books which have stories which are inspired by real events or happenings all around. They make it all the more captivating :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aseem, I agree, a little bit of reality can really draw a reader in to a story.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love the nod to Robert the Bruce!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sally – it’s one of the nice things about being a writer – you can make these little nods, even if it is only the writer that gets them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Interesting to know the beginnings of the story! I think my daughter has a friend who was in Billings Montana for a while. Good thing she moved LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, no actual people from Billings were harmed in the making of this novel! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Sounds so intriguing, but sorry for those in Billings Montana. I had to laugh at your apology.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Thanks Martha, it was owed to them!

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  19. I love hearing why you decided to write your trilogy. My husband and I are hoping to head to Scotland this summer. We were supposed to go last year, but alas COVID. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fingers crossed. Not sure if the borders will open up for international travel in time, but the situation is improving here, so you never know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! I keep watching it closely but have held back on making our final travel plans although most are already in place from last year. We just transferred the dates over to this year when COVID hit. I’m afraid to be disappointed again which is why I haven’t finished up the planning. I’m hoping the vaccines help expediate travel again but I’ll have to wait and see.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. People are always–fictionally–destroying the Capitol building here, refreshing to see Billings take a hit. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Yep, I was aiming for somewhere that didn’t usually get destroyed in stories! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I love the idea of using Scotland as a base, and building the State on it. It both grounds it reality, and allows it develop beyond it. Looking forward to learning more about your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Shari, much appreciated.

      Like

  22. The sense of Place is one of the things that really grabbed me – especially in the first part of the trilogy. I don’t know Glasgow (or anywhere in Scotland I’m ashamed to say) but I particularly liked the descriptive details you wove into your story, and am sure I would recognise them when I finally get to tick Glasgow off my travel bucket list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pleasing that the sense of place came across as I hoped it would. Do come up and visit, once allowed of course, plenty to offer in Scotland!!

      Liked by 1 person

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