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AFTERWORD

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This section is going to be divided up into two parts. The first part is where I'll talk specifically about the book. The second is where I'll talk about my current state of mind.

So, Dead Winter.

I began writing this story in around May of 2017. It took me a little while to get started on my next big project after The Shadow Wars because A) I needed some time to recover after writing 3 novels back to back with no break at all over the course of 5 months at the end of 2016 and B) I needed to figure out what to write.

At the time, I was trying to figure something out. I knew I wanted to try and get published by a small (but not too small) publisher. Naturally, I don't trust publishers. So I wanted to select a story that I could write that wasn't what I thought was among my best ideas, but also was good enough to get published, so that if I did in fact get published and then it was handled terribly (this has happened to me before) I wouldn't lose something absolutely crucial to me.

That isn't to say I didn't care about Dead Winter, it's more that there are some ideas I could stand to have put on hold for five years (length of standard contract in my experience before reversion of rights if the publisher decides to be a fucking die hard and hold onto your title the absolutely longest amount of time, which they almost always do), and there's some ideas that I couldn't stand to lose for any length of time.

Dead Winter seemed like a fair compromise.

So I planned it out and then wrote it. It is easily the longest novel I've ever written, and took the longest to actually complete. Almost a year. This was partially due to the fact that I kept getting distracted by real life and by other projects, and partially due to the fact that I sort of allowed myself to get distracted because I didn't want to go nearly as hard on this as I did on any of my Shadow Wars novels.

With those stories, I worked very hard and very consistently to get them written in a relatively short amount of time. I mean, fuck, I wrote Necropolis 4 in a little over one month, which is insane given that it's the longest Shadow Wars title.

I had a theory that giving myself more time, more breathing room to write, would result in better material. And as such, I took breaks between writing. Certainly some of those breaks were longer than intended. But ultimately I do think that Dead Winter is the best thing I've ever written.

Now, that's not to say that I think it is amazing, or even that I think it's my best idea. It's more that I think the quality of the writing itself, the prose, the moment-to-moment storytelling is the highest of anything I've written so far. But of course this is really for each reader to determine, because I've had to learn that honestly what I think about my writing and what readers think about it are worlds removed, because I will never be able to properly experience my own work given the fact that I wrote it.

As for some of the content of the novel itself...

There's a ton of different things that go into writing a novel. Most of them subconscious, some of them intentional. I think it varies from writer to writer. Some writers, better ones, will be able to tell you why they did what they did on every page. Others, like myself, will often only be able to say, "Well, because it felt right..."

One thing I did consciously attempt was emphasize the fact that this is kind of an origin story for PFC James Pierce. Some people have commented to me about the fact that he messes up so often throughout the story, which is kind of the point.

I'm honestly tired of reading about badass characters who have all the right answers, never fuck up, and know what to do at all times. They're boring. I often try to work more...realism, I guess you could call it, into my stories. One example of this that I can recall where someone actually noted and mentioned it is in the beginning of the fourth Shadow Wars novel, Absolute Zero, where the protagonist is trying to get dressed in the dark after a casual sexual encounter, and he spends a little while hunting for his clothes. One reader pointed out that most other authors would write the scene so that he found his clothes immediately. A small but, at least in one person's eyes, important detail.

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