THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: P

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, ‘P’ stands for:

Politics: The central theme of the trilogy, and particularly the second book. I would class the trilogy as political thrillers above all else, including dystopian and science fiction, even though they are set in the future.

Phillips: A State Security agent who arrives in Central City to aid the investigation by Samson and Henrik James into the assassination of Consul Donald Parkinson. Ex-State Military and, it transpires, has worked with Gabriella on missions in the First Strike War in the past. His background is mysterious and he gives little away, but gradually Danny and Henrik come to trust him. He has contacts around the world and through these learns more about the State and the First Strike War and returns to the city with ambitions of undermining the State and the Central Alliance Party. Although Danny and Gabriella agree with his cause, his methods divide them. Phillips was the character I included to add a bit of a spy espionage element to the political thriller, sprung from my love of reading the spy genre novels of Fleming and Le Carre. He is also invaluable as the character who is not black and white, good or bad, but introduces shades of grey into what is right and what is wrong. In that sense, he is perhaps the most complex of the characters in the trilogy.

Power: The central theme of all the politics in the novels, both on the State side and on the rebels side is that power corrupts absolutely. The Central Alliance Party when they first took control of the State had good intentions, but as compromises and hard decisions have to be taken, it is inevitable that eventually there will be casualties and temptations and corruption. With the State and the C.A.P. and Románes, it is that determination to cling onto power, to protect everything that has gone before, that ultimately marks the beginning of their downfall.

Patrick Donovan: Vice-Chancellor of the State, second in command to Chancellor Románes. His link to Defence Secretary Ishmael Nelson and assassinated City Consul Donald Parkinson pulls him into the corruption uncovered by Danny Samson and Phillips.

Pandemic: When I started the trilogy I had no idea the pandemic was going to happen. In fact, only the final book was written after the start of lockdowns and talk of vaccines and death rates and social isolation. In one sense, it felt like the real world had overtaken my dystopian one. However, I did manage to write a brief mention into ‘State Of War’ to reference coronavirus, and some of the measures featured in my world – no social gatherings, no nightclubs or cinemas or sports spectators, felt quite apt, even though I had brought them about for different reasons of civilian control.

Publishing and Promotion: I chose to self-publish my first novel with Amazon Kindle. A pretty easy decision as they have the biggest market share and it’s absolutely free to do. I, like most authors, would love to have an agent and a traditional publisher, but after sending my manuscript to about 8 agents and receiving only two polite rejections, I decided at the time I did not have the time or inclination to pursue this route. I will keep trying it in the future though, but I do dislike the fact that many agencies and publishers cannot even be courteous to potential writers, without whom they would have nothing! Of course, I’m not a celebrity and I have no close contacts in the publishing industry, which seem to be the two sure-fire prerequisites for getting your foot in the door. The main advantage of the traditional approach is the help you get with promotion of your work. As an indie author publishing my own work, I have to do all my own promotion and I fully admit it is not something I have spent enough time on or come close to mastering yet. Any and all tips are welcome!

Next up – Q is for: Quasimo

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

37 thoughts on “THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: P

  1. The publishing world seems to be a very difficult one, and I think it was a good decision of you to publish on your own, instead of waiting. I hope for you that you’ll eventually get that positive response letter you’re waiting for!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re doing pretty okay. I find what you say about power quite interesting. Counterpoint to that is “absolute power corrupts absolutely” as has been observed multiple times but anarchy is worse. I’m seeing great hope(?) in intersectionality and grass-roots movements. Maybe absolute power resting in one person, even (gasp) one divine being (and of course that being’s followers exercising it on said being’s behalf) is an issue, but power doesn’t just go away. I feel like right now we are feeling this tension as more people get educated and “woke”, that we’re also toppling anti-power as an idea the elite use to keep people subjugated. (Nothing matters, so let’s just let the ruling class keep ruling while we watch TV.) Individuals are starting to realize their own power in a way where we have the capacity to not just be the torch-bearing mob anymore, to talk and to mobilize in intelligent ways.

    And then, after that, I’m not sure. But I feel like if there is a non-1984, State solution it’s in ordinary people realizing we have power as ordinary people. I really like the humanity of your characters in the midst of a crazy situation, especially the two main characters. They both seem to be having this okay, now, very human epiphany. It’s interesting. I feel like the “other side” wants us to think there’s no hope because the only hope really lies in subverting unjust hold on power, Denying that power exists at all works for them. Empowering people who are just going to accept the status quo also works for them. Empowering people to think outside the box in a non-violent but resolute way. Hm….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting thoughts Anne – it is a real problem for everyone, no matter what side of any debate they are on. If you’re not happy with the current system – and no one seems to be happy – then what do you replace it with?

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  3. You KNOW I’m going to devour this series, Iain! I, too, chose to self-publish. It wasn’t the rejection I feared (having had plenty of that in my lifetime!), but I just didn’t want to wait. I’m happy with my choice, and still know that I’m putting out my best work (as I know you are as well).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent Martha. I will have to look at your books. The waiting is crazy – like the agencies who state that if you haven’t heard anything in 6 months then you can assume they are not interested in your book – 6 months, they expect you to just sit and do nothing for 6 months! It seems so disrespectful to me.

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  4. As with many things in life, when it comes to publishing I get the impression that it’s not what you know but who you know that gives you a head start. I have no desire to have anything of mine published so it won’t be a problem I’ll be experiencing!

    Here’s my P!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hari Om
    Pet Peeves are the Publishing “Paternity” which condescend to so many who deserve more and that self-publishing is still, to many, seen as ‘vanity’ publishing. It is changing, gradually. Not that I have yet Plunged into the Pool, but I still harbour ambitions! (That I have yet to complete anything to that point yet is another matter…) YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The publishing world seems to be impenetrable unless you know the right person, so I may never get anywhere, but I’ll keep trying. The trouble with self-publishing is the lack of quality control, but there are plenty of worthy gems out there, and talented writers that deserve to be read. I hope you manage to achieve those ambitions one day.

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  6. Iain, publishing and promotion is definitely difficult and sometimes even if you find a publisher it doesn’t go quite the way you think is should….(I had an unfortunate experience with that-in fact I got so mad at one point I just gave the book away ha ha). Oh well. But hey water under the bridge, live and learn and move forward. I’m not meant to be an author in that sense. I’m just a blogger. But I think you are doing a wonderful job of promoting yourself. You are all over WordPress (I see your face everywhere) and you have your own Amazon Page where people can follow you. Do you promote on Facebook and Twitter? And if you ask a lot of people will share your information. I know we just had a little “book thing” at work and I threw your name out there. It’s a lot of word of mouth and self promotion. Keep doing what you are doing and don’t give up. Good things come to those who persevere and keep on keeping on. Did you see I mentioned you in my people post today!
    Cheers,
    Crackerberries

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s reassuring to know that someone is noticing – so often I wonder if all the effort to self-promote is making any sort of difference or if I’m shouting into a void! So thanks for that. Yes, on Facebook and Twitter too, and Goodreads and Instagram!! So many to keep track of. Thanks for the encouragement and for mentioning my name to your work colleagues! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Phillips sounds like an interesting character. Developing a character with traits both black and white (grey) is more difficult than presenting someone as pure evil or only blessedly good. The contrasts must complement the character’s personality even if this remains hidden from the reader.

    Self-publishing is a beneficial choice but I think authors should first explore all avenues and base a decision on what works best for them. You obviously did your research before developing a final plan of action. A good strategy for new authors to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the sound if Phillips, I admire characters that have the courage to be both their good and bad selves! That’s why I actually prefer Green Arrow to the Flash 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You say you chose to publish your first book through Amazon and I saw that it was printed by them when it arrived – presumably you had the whole trilogy printed that way…
    Do they do any promotion for you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately not. The price of not paying is that you’re on your own when it comes to promotion. You can advertise on Amazon, but it costs money, so you may end up losing money, the same goes for Facebook.

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  10. Politics, Power, and Pandemic… there are some who would argue that the entire pandemic has been a political power play.

    I am working on a memoir and if I decide to publish it, I will go the self-publishing route.

    Marketing my screenplays has been a major obstacle. As with publishing, “who-you-know” gets the foot in the door. If I had a truck-load of money I would self-produce them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck with the memoir – will need to look out for it! It’s almost impossible to know where to start unless you’ve got that contact in the industry. I’m sending out my new novel to a few agents, but have very low expectations, so it’s good to know self-publishing is there as an option.

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    1. Thank you. Amazon does have an option to allow libraries to purchase your book, but like everything else, it’s getting it noticed among the thousands of others, and without a traditional publisher behind you, it becomes almost impossible. Unless you’ve got that magic connection, it just seems to a case of continuing to plug away and hoping that something lands on the right desk at the right time!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure ‘enjoy’ is the right word, but I do follow politics, and I do like a good political thriller or intrigue – in fiction and in real life.

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  11. Hi Iain, I had this big long comment typed up yesterday but I must have thought I clicked post and hit something else…probably because I went on a rant about how some of the publishing companies out there are so rude. (My bad!) I concur about how they could just send a kind rejection letter opposed to no response at all. Most of them are only in it now to make themselves money and that’s it. They do not care about the little guy. You are doing a fine job of self-promotion and I see you all over the place so that’s good. Just keep on keeping on and sometimes word of mouth will find the right person or entity and everything will take off from there. Also I think Amazon kindle offers some free promotions you can do or at least the do in the US not sure if the UK has the same options. There are also several Facebook groups that offer help in promotion… the key is finding those places and it is a lot of sweat and tears and time for sure. Just keep on keeping on and it will take off. You have good thing going and a lot ofpeople who would be happy to share the information about your books.
    Cheers,
    Crackerberries

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sending out short stories to magazines is pretty soul destroying. You start to wonder whether you’re work is really that bad. But as you say, we keep trying. Someone will like it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It is an enormous frustration when celebrities are able to get a publishing contract so easily, especially when you see the positive wealth of work from indie authors. I’ve no issue at all with a celebrity getting published if they’re good writers, but I wonder just how many truly are…

    A-Zing from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Normally found at Debs Despatches

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My exact thought Debs. I tend to avoid, but I was recently given Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club. It was perfectly fine, nothing wrong with it, but also nothing better than a lot of indie authors writing, and I do wonder if I had submitted that identical novel, would it ever have been close to being considered? I suspect not.

      Liked by 1 person

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