Strange Days

I last updated this blog two months ago – apologies for the radio silence. It was a world ago.

Like – I assume – you, we’re locked down here. We’re in a good position – we moved out to the countryside just before Christmas, so we have plenty of space. It’s a bigger house, I have an office with a thick door, and the kids have room to run. I mean, if I’d known it was going to become our designated Apocalypse Survival Pod, I’d probably have asked for better wifi, but all things considered, it’s good.

I’m good. I’m weirdly good – I spend so much time thinking about and writing about disasters and crazy situations that it’s invigorating to actually have one happen around me. I’m not happy about it, of course – I’ve got relatives and friends on the front line in the hospitals, and others who are immunocompromised or otherwise vulnerable, and society is where I keep all my stuff – but it’s a different sort of stress, and one I cope with better. We know what we have to do – avoid people, stay clean, stay sane – and I work well with clear goals.

I haven’t done much writing, and even less reading. With the kids home, there hasn’t been much uninterrupted time in the last two weeks, and reading seems like an indulgence when you’ve got twitter right there and you’re bearing witness to history. (I realise that’s a terrible thing for a working writer to say, as I need you to read so you’ll buy my books. Read! Read, damn you! Witnessing history is like watching an iceberg calve – you can see it coming for ages, it’s mostly creaking dullness, and then suddenly a big chunk falls. I’ll let you know when the big stuff happens.)

I’ve walked a lot, exploring the area around here. Lots of ruins, lots of pharmaceutical plants. Lots of oddities.

Book 3 edits continue apace. Other work, ditto. My working situation has been mostly unaffected by, y’know, the complete shutdown of most of society. Writers are hermits by nature; I just can’t pop down to the coffee shop for a change of scene.

There was a pandemic in Guerdon, too. The Stone Plague’s part of the backstory – how the city nearly collapsed into terror and anarchy, how the government forcibly isolated the sufferers, and how a cure was developed by the alchemists. When I wrote it, in the before-times, I was thinking mainly about decision-making and how the right call at one time can be turned sour by events. In the novel, Kelkin decides to deploy the army and rounds up the infected into internment camps; it’s cruel, but necessary, and he’s seen as the hero. Then the alchemists develop a treatment, and suddenly Kelkin’s as a tyrant who killed hundreds of people needlessly, as the cure was right around the corner.

Now, though, I’m taking comfort from the fact that it’s just part of the backstory. The Stone Plague isn’t forgotten – Spar’s a big part of the series, obviously – but it’s past. They got through it.

We’ll get through this.

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