Westveil Publishing is the thirteenth stop in my virtual book tour.
Hi Jenna, thank you so much for hosting me on your site. What a multi-talent you must be to write, edit, illustrate!
Hello everyone, thank you for joining me on this site.
I thought it would be fun to tell you a little about how different my initial thoughts for my novel “Can Machines Bring Peace? Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic Age” were to the final version.
At first, I wondered if I wanted to write a TV series. So, I already had a catchy catchphrase:
“In the near future, a team of fresh diplomats uncovers a plot that could bring down the empire – and no one believes them.”
And I had a few ideas like: The 2000-year-old man, Outsmarting an AI, The coup, Boring economic negotiation, Hostage situation, where the team are the hostages.
Snazzy character types were in place with great descriptions like:
- Princess – one of five daughters. Elite, but cares.
- Jock – likes leading the team until he believes team is holding his career back.
- Brains – good visual analytics. She gets false flagged and commits suicide.
- Everyman – good dose of common sense and likes to talk to people. Especially elderly ladies like him.
Of course, I was also thinking about a novel. So, I asked my fifteen-year-old son what he thought. And he deadpanned that it was more probable to publish a novel, than to make a TV series. It’s important to have down-to-earth people around you.
Then, I had these ideas about a galaxy spanning conspiracy. The 12-star empire would be based on the Japanese imperial history. The novel would begin with the protagonist writing a letter to the Empress. And he would use cool titles like “Her Imperial Highness, Twelve Star Empress…”
And then the letter would reach one of the Imperial councilors. And his first thoughts would be about how an AI actually decided that the letter was important enough to send to an actual person. Not only that, it would be sent to an Imperial councilor and to that specific Imperial councilor.
And then I got stuck. Sure, I had all these little ideas and thoughts. But I obviously lacked a more solid storyline. The TV catchphrase didn’t seem to support a bigger adventure. So, I dropped the project for a while.
Until I thought it would be interesting to have someone actually build an AI for a difficult issue. And supposed he had to find people to help him do that. That might be interesting. I kept the story within the Japanese setting. And the protagonist is a diplomat, so that was kept in the novel as well.
What really helped was to expand on the idea to build a team, and that the team had to be diverse. And one by one, the characters seemed to invite themselves: the naïve diplomat, the admiral’s daughter (the admiral is the antagonist), the carnival cheat, the disgruntled professor and the engineer hiding in her room. And it was obvious that even without external pressure, it would be a challenge to make the team work and actually build an AI. The, of course, I added external pressures: the diplomat’s boss (the admiral) opposes the work he does, his second-in-command actively sabotages the project, the carnival cheat is involved with some shady characters. Oh yeah, the protagonist and the admiral’s daughter fall in love – this is something that I had not planned in the outline. But it really added a new tension. So, when people ask me how long it took to write the book, my answer is: If you mean the first ideas and thoughts, then it took me two years. If you mean putting it all on paper, then it took me two months.