I just turned in copy edits on Teen Killers at Large.
It's really hard to say goodbye to these characters. They've been sort of my last gasp of the feeling that everything is possible. My debut novel really pulled on memories of when I went off to college & found my people, and this series has preserved the excitement of belonging and first love and feeling like the world was just waiting to be conquered.
I'm finishing out the series with the preorder incentive, a re-telling of the first novel from Erik's perspective. I started writing this as underwriting for Erik's head space in book 3. What had his experience been at camp, with Signal, what did he want.
At the time I was displaced from my houseby a raging forest fire and was on a sort of forced vacation, going up the coast as fire crept closer and closer to my home. I'd just turned in a big unrelated deadline so I had a travel laptop, and one night in a hotel I just started typing a Wip called "Naramauke" ...and I pretty much could not stop. I kept thinking about it and writing things down in between everything else. It helped me crack Erik's head open in the third book, but it was also something very much of itself.
Erik is way more jaded and tragic than Signal when he comes to camp, the way I'm more jaded and sad now than I was when the series started. Looking back at the first book through his eyes felt like a good way to close not just the series but this chapter of my life. Youth? My youth, essentially. Erik, thank you for being the elegy of my youth.
The next book adventure is the Merciless King of Moore High.
I'm still deep in revisions and it's a much deadlier place to spend my mental time than assassin camp. I had the idea for years, with various degrees of interest, and had started it but couldn't seem to get into it. Then when pandemic started suddenly it felt like a documentary. I understood these character's dread and urgency in a way I never had before. It kept me going through one of the darkest times of my life.
Basically, overnight, all the adults in a small Connecticut town merge into hideous, gigantic monsters that try to kill everyone who hasn't turned-- the kids. The students at a magnet high school barricade themselves in their school building, and only when they're on the brink of starvation do they learn their old crosstown rival, a big jock-filled party school across town, has found a way to kill the monsters. They've developed a sort of neo-feudal system, and are thriving under the rule of a Merciless King who plans on taking back the whole town.
So yeah, its a pivot! And the genre isn't exactly crystal clear. Contemporary kids in a feudalistic fantasy world. But starting on the same footing of my characters-- total existential dread-- and revising it now, being on the other side of such a historically weird time, has made it so much more of a book than I ever thought I could write. I's so dark and so fun and so hopeful. I cannot wait until its out on shelves.
More, much more, soon.