I wanted to write The Dragon’s Choice right away after doing A Plague of Wizards, but I was committed to writing A Great Deal of Patience. That was the book that everyone wanted. As I stuttered along with Patience, though, I worked out the whole story of The Dragon’s Choice in my head, so the next time I paused in writing Patience, I whipped out The Dragon’s Choice. It only took me about six and a half weeks to write, and it was probably the most fun book to write to this point. Because of this, I think that after I finish the final Patience book, I’m only going to write whatever I feel enthused about at the moment.
After writing Patience is a Virtue, I decided I wouldn’t write another robot book unless I had a story. I finally thought of one and planned out a trilogy of books. The first book was A Great Deal of Patience, and I think it is by far the best of the series.
As so often, I started writing and got side-tracked several times. I stopped for about two months and wrote The Dragon’s Choice, but left it unedited to return to Patience. It was finally done and I published it in 2017. That sounds like a long time ago, but in my mind, I just finished that book. It continues to sell well and I get more positive emails and comments about it than any other book.
I had just read a Harry Turtledove book called,A World of Difference. In it, the author simply replaces Mars in our solar system with Minerva, an earth-like world. I used this same idea to place our world’s continents into one section of a ring world. Then I set it in 1913, which let me put Teddy Roosevelt in the story.
There were a lot of starts and stops before I finally finished this book, but eventually I did.
A Plague of Wizards is the eighth book in The Sorceress and the Dragon series (formerly Senta and the Steel Dragon). The book started with what if Senta disappeared for several years and what would happen to Port Dechantagne and the people in it if that happened.
The question that naturally follows is where was she and what happened to her. I guess a lot of that part of the story comes from my reading books and watching movies about people who have been mistreated in mental institutions.
There are a number of story elements that result from this book, particularly with Senta and Baxter that continue to the end of the series.
I had planned for the fifth Astrid Maxxim book to be the Electric Racecar Challenge all along, and had built up to it in the previous books. As I was writing Astrid Maxxim and her Hypersonic Space Plane, I came across an article about a woman who had suffered amnesia in an auto accident. I decided that it was how I wanted to start the next Astrid book. It would be quite a shocker opening.
I wrote the first two chapters and then got sidetracked writing His Robot Girlfriend: Charity. I got back to Astrid and then got sidetracked again, first writing a few new chapters of Kanana: the Jungle Girl and then writing the entirety of The Price of Magic. At that point, I looked back at the Astrid book, which was about half done, and thought “get to it!”
Even after all that, I ended up with everything but the last chapter done and got stuck. I don’t really know why. I knew what I wanted to write.
One little thing I’ve been playing with is that each last chapter of an Astrid book is named for a Shakespearean play. I was stuck with this book until I suddenly realized that I could name the rival race car the Cheetah Tempest. There you go!
The Price of Magic, The Sorceress and the Dragon Book 7, was set up in book 6. Reading through them, they really feel like parts one and two of a story arc, although that wasn’t quite the way I planned it. I wanted it to be a bit more open-ended.
The Price of Magic was much easier to write than The Sorceress and her Lovers. It’s probably the longest book that I’ve written straight through without stopping. I had just finished His Robot Girlfriend: Charity and started in on Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge, stopped that and wrote a bit on Kanana the Jungle Girl. Finally, I set all that aside and jumped back into Birmisia and Senta, and it seemed like that was what I was meant to be writing.
Perhaps what made it so much fun to write was that I was dealing with Iolana Dechantagne Staff as a fourteen-year-old. I seem to be making a career of writing about teen girls– between Senta in The Drache Girl and Astrid Maxxim. In any case, I really enjoyed writing Iolana’s portions of the book as well as Tokkenoht’s. She had not been one of the primary characters up until this point.
When I finished, the pieces of the next book just fell into place. I sat down and wrote out a very complete outline for it. It would become A Plague of Wizards.