Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge
I actually had almost a third of Astrid Maxxim and the Electric Racecar Challenge waiting for me to finish. I had recently read an article on amnesia in real life, so I decided to use what I learned to begin the story. It tested my characters, and I liked the challenge. I shot through it really quickly, as I usually do with Astrid books. I think that if I spent all my time writing nothing else, I could do six or seven of them a year. But again, after finishing this book, I fiddled around with a variety of pieces before I came up with my next solid idea.
A Plague of Wizards
Like the previous books, much of this novel followed along with the history that I had laid out in the unused epilog for The Two Dragons. However, the main plot line popped into my head probably because of the amnesia storyline with Astrid in the previous book. I had established this world where Senta, the mighty sorceress was magical overlord of the newly established Birmisia Colony, and her presence kept away many dangerous and evil wizards. So, what would happen if she disappeared, and not for just a little while either, but for years? And what could cause her to be gone? I had established that there were many who wanted to see her out of the way, and that there were some who wanted to rid the world of magic. What if those people got together to get rid of her? Finally, what would her absence do to those closest to her. I think I had the most fun with this book. It was a “what if I put my well-known characters into a completely wild situation and see what happens” kind of thing. I’m happy with the result.
Kanana: The Jungle Girl
After focusing so long on The Sorceress and the Dragon and Astrid Maxxim, I was eager to find something new to inspire me. I returned to my fondness for Edgar Rice Burroughs books as a kid, with a story whose outline I had written back while working on His Robot Girlfriend: Charity. It too featured a plotline with a cheating romantic partner. With Princess of Amathar, I had heavily leaned on John Carter for inspiration, and this time, I did the same with Tarzan, especially the Opar stories. I created my own jungle hero, in this case a heroine. My hero was a former Rough Rider, giving me the opportunity to use one of my personal heroes, Theodore Roosevelt, as a character. The first royalties of the book were donated to a fund to restore his burial place. One unusual aspect of the story was that the Earth became a ringworld. I had recently read a book by Harry Turtledove, who had substituted a new world where Venus was, so that his story would work. I was inspired to do the same with Earth.