My next novel — The Wanderer and the New West — is getting closer to publication! A key part of that process is designing a cover, and I’m thrilled to announce illustrator Ben Mcleod will be taking on this important job.
Hailing from Manchester, Ben has created art for an array of cool clients like Disney and 20th Century Fox, working on such popular franchises as Star Wars and X-Men! Check out some of his recent work below and on his Tumblr blog.
I’ve seen some of Ben’s ideas for The Wandererand am thrilled with the direction. Can’t wait to share the cover with you when it’s complete!
It may not feel like it, but spring is here! What are your plans?
Here’s what I’m up to. I’m writing a comedy screenplay about a spokesman for a dystopian government. I call it Utopia PR. I’ve got the plot outlined and have written about 35 pages. That means I’m about a third of the way through (think of each screenplay page like a minute of a movie). I’m hoping to finish the script over the next couple months and enter it into a contest or two. It’s been a lot of fun to let loose and have a laugh, especially given the current state of the world.
As for my third novel, The Wanderer and the New West, I’m afraid there’s not a lot new to say. The search for a literary agent continues. I’ve received definite interest but I’m waiting to hear more. I really can’t wait to get the book into your hands! I’m hoping to decide in the next few months whether to take matters into my own hands and self-publish, as I did with my previous novels.
Speaking of which, happy to report that sales have been up on We, The Watched and Divided We Fall, especially since the presidential election! Seems that ads about dystopian governments are getting clicks these days. You may have seen that sales of George Orwell’s 1984 are way up, too, so maybe my books are getting some kind of Orwellian bump. Thanks, George!
We, The Watched and Divided We Fall are set in an unnamed nation that is not unlike the US, UK, Australia or other “western” countries, but is much further along in its use of government surveillance.
While technically science fiction, I purposely avoided any out-there, overly futuristic elements in order to keep these books as grounded in reality as possible. The surveillance technologies discussed in the book mix what’s available today with what there is potential for in the future. I wanted to create a place that, while fictional, didn’t seem like much of a stretch given the current debate over government surveillance.
My novels have two interlinked, overarching conflicts, with three sides.
Within the country, you have the government and the Church together in a fight against revolutionaries who call themselves the Underground. Essentially, I took America’s First Amendment promise of separation of Church and State and turned it on its head. By uniting, they exercise totalitarian control over the people. The government provides physical enforcement while the Church spreads the psychological propaganda that keeps the people in line.
Illustrating the merger of Church and State is the motto of the Guard, the nation’s army:
PATRIOTS ARE THE TRUE. HERETICS ARE THE DAMNED.
Holding to that policy, the Guard keeps a Watched list of suspicious citizens. Those who are found out as Heretics face public execution.
Naturally, not everyone’s going to agree with that, and the strongest opponents have formed a revolutionary group called the Underground. Funded by a mysterious benefactor, the Underground collects evidence of the government’s wrongdoing in an effort to gather followers and spur an uprising.
Meanwhile, there is a second conflict–an international war between the nation and an unnamed Enemy. The division between the government and the Underground makes the nation weak against the Enemy. The more internal division, the worse things seem to get in the war against the Enemy.
The hero of my novels, Seven, enters this nation without memory. Like the reader, Seven finds it all very strange and forms an opinion of who is in the right and who is in the wrong. But what can one man do, especially when the punishment for treason is execution?
My entire first novel — WE, THE WATCHED — is now available for free on Scribd. You can view it below or on the Scribd site. You can also download the eBook on your PC or send it to your Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPhone or iPad, and a variety of other mobile devices.
If you like what you read, please use the Share option to tell your friends via Facebook, Twitter, etc., or embed the novel on your blog. And if you have time, please rate the novel and leave a comment. I’m not asking for money at this time, but anything you can do to spread the word is most appreciated!