Author’s notes for The Stone God

What do you do when you've written the first two parts of a trilogy?

Write the third one?

Nope. You decide to stop, leave everyone hanging, and write a prequel.

Now, in my defence, there was a point to this. Something was missing from the trilogy - the source of the narrative. If you write about extra-sensory gifts and hint at a long ancestry, you should be prepared to reveal the history. The more I thought it through, the more I realised there was a rich and multilayered tale simmering beneath the surface, and the only way to explore it properly was to knuckle down and reveal those layers.

My first thought was to write a short story and a writing competition spurred me on, but unfortunately the limit was 3,000 words. I managed that in one afternoon and realised I hadn't even finished the opening sequence. Bye-bye competition. Sighing, I set to and started mapping out a full novel.

Several years on and I'm just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Although this story is about a fictitious clan and not intended to be an accurate historical novel, it is nevertheless set in a specific period, circa 350 AD. It also begins in the Sinai desert, where we meet desert dwellers and others on the journey. Research was needed and this has taken time, and it needed some care in the telling.

Despite being a lengthy process, our heroine was determined to have her say. Frey, full name Freedom, is a strong, driven young woman - lacking wisdom at first, but quick to learn. She has much to give, not simply from the sensory gift she has inherited, but from her passionate nature, and she has been a pleasure to inhabit. I'm looking forward to sharing her quest with you.

Not long to go and I'm getting little twists of adrenalin at that thought. As I write this, I'm settling into the final stretch of the story, all of it planned. The lockdowns in 2020-21 have enforced introspection and there were no excuses left, so obstacles have been swept away and the study done. Now, it's just a matter of how fast I can type and how many days I put aside to focus on Frey. I'm happy to stay in her world a little while longer and it's certainly been an escape during these two difficult years - with some surprising synergy to current events. You'll see what I mean.

What has been fascinating, is the way this writing diversion has helped shape the future and final book of the Hanningdon Magic trilogy. I knew roughly what I wanted to achieve, but The Stone God has fed into the lore and spiritual force of the wider arc. That work is also mapped out and ready for the writing. Nothing has pleased me more than to reach an understanding and see, finally, how it all weaves together. It was there all the time - all stories exist, they just need the telling - but I think this long stretch in development was needed. I had to uncover the secrets gradually, but they waited with incredible patience knowing their day would come.

In the end, this prequel wasn't a detour, it turned out to be the core, the beating heart of the story.

Without Frey and The Stone God, there would be no Hanningdon.