The month of Ultio is underway and I decided that for this week’s post I would share not just a teaser or two, but a bit about how this book came to be.
December of 2016 up through early 2017 had me in a writing frenzy where I created Alarum, the very first book in the Walking Shadows series. When I first began plotting the story I’d planned on Fury getting a trilogy. Then it became a duology. Then finally settled on a solid standalone because Fury hates filler for the sake of page count. That was that, or so I thought. I couldn’t shake this world that had bloomed in my imagination and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered about it, and soon enough I was participating in NaNoWriMo 2017 which concluded with the very first draft of…Ultio.
Back in 2017, all I knew was that there were more stories to tell in this dystopian world. How many? I settled on just three with each taking place in a different country: Southern Coalition, Pacific Confederation, Rochester Alliance. Except, as you’re well aware, that didn’t go as planned either. By the time I’d finished with Ultio I’d realized there was a bigger story going on and I had to tell to. As I spent the next several weeks trying to investigate exactly what was going on, I ended up with the Walking Shadows series as it is today. Five books, different main characters, different settings, but all interconnected. I was a bit bummed that Ultio ended up being pushed back to book four in the series because I’d written it and was so excited to share it, but I knew it needed to wait and so it has. Until now. February 23, 2021 this book that has been waiting patiently for three years will finally see the light of day.
Now, why exactly did the Pacific Confederation catch my attention so strongly after Alarum? I don’t know. We barely spend any time there in that book. Maybe it was because I’d become curious about the TV show Man in the High Castle? I really don’t know. And why was the main character a mentally unstable assassin? I still am unable to say. Maybe I was just on an anti-hero kick since I was also working on wrapping up my Otherworld trilogy. It seems so random and yet Ares called to me and I knew exactly who she was and what story she wanted me to tell. I wish I’d kept a journal because maybe the answers to these questions would be tucked between those pages, but alas I didn’t. I will say, it’s pretty wild to see how her story, which originally seemed so isolated, ended up sliding into place like another piece of the puzzle that is now the Walking Shadows series. I already knew Fury and Bones, then Bones demanded his time to shine, suddenly Ares’ old ally and Bones’ new partner, Maddy, was asking for a book, timelines began overlapping and interconnecting and then the finale… the finale takes them all and threads them together with a bow.
Ultio‘s main character may be Ares, but the story follows three different POVs: Ares, Thaniel, and the Inspector. Each has a distinctly different view of the world, their situation, and they wrap around and around until they become hopelessly entwined. Ares sees confinement, Thaniel sees safety, Inspector sees duty. Will they ever agree? Maybe. Maybe not. But that isn’t really the goal. The goal is simply to get them to consider, to wonder, to think. Dare one hope they even act?
This book isn’t drawn out, it’s fast-paced and waits for no one. It ponders and muses one moment then wreaks havoc the next. It’s a beginning. It’s an ending. It’s calculated chaos from start to finish. Some readers will fall into Ares’ spell while others will groan that the book a waste of time. It’s funny because I confess I’m embarrassingly sensitive to criticism and yet when the character’s voice is so strong it feels less like something I created and simply something that is. Like criticizing a biography, a memoir, etc. Maybe I’m a bit crazy and that’s all there is to it, I don’t know.
But back to how this book came to be. I confessed I don’t recall a specific reason or inspiration that birthed this story as much as I wish I could remember one, but I will say… timing is a funny thing, isn’t it? I wrote this book in 2017, the Walking Shadows series didn’t yet fully exist, and yet due to this and that and other unforeseen circumstances, Ultio chose to greet the world now. It’s just…interesting…
Well, if you haven’t already begun the Walking Shadows series then I hope you will soon! Alarum survives, Solus laughs, Vicinus loves, Ultio revives, Initus… well, no spoilers.
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