Zou Waters turned the corner of Pine Lane with the bullies of Seabreak only twenty feet behind her. Over the wipat! wipat! wipat! of her sandals (why had she worn sandals?) she heard the whistle of the train, and thought, if she crossed the tracks before the bullies caught her, she might be OK.
This morning I wrote the first page of my first attempt at a novel. Called After Earth, it will be the first in an imagined cycle of 12 books following Zou and Liam Waters, a brother and sister who have the power to step forward into time and space. In each book, they will step into a different planet in our solar system, far in the future. In that future, humans have made a wasteland of Earth, and are making a go of it on the different planets. This first novel will take Zou and Liam to Mars (that is, if Zou can escape from the bullies above).
My goal is to finish this novel by the end of the year, but having written nothing but plays and the odd poem, I have no idea if that’s realistic. However, I have a clear idea of the shape of the book, and the characters, so it seems possible.
I’m writing the book in preparation to become a father (don’t worry, that’s still a few years off). I want to have a story ready for our kids when they arrive, something that captures what I’ve learned about the world in story form. Raised as an atheist, it was books like Watership Down, Lord of the Rings and The Last Unicorn that shaped my way of seeing the world, and I want something unique like that for my children.
Of course, I’ll also send it out for hopeful publication, but I think writing from that personal place will give it a value independent of any outside success, and propel me through a world which is already becoming increasingly vivid in my mind.