This all started with Symbiotica really. This rich world of Alphius Prime and their desperate escape from the end of the world.
Koli made her first appearance in Bound Hearts, the third book although she had been referenced right at the beginning of Book 1. As a writer, I remember the great Gene Roddenberry once referring to the Enterprise as a vehicle to tell stories in the now legendary Star Trek. For me that perhaps seemed something of a waste as for me, the ships are always as important as those that travel on them. When I created Symbiotica and then Proteus, I wanted these vehicles of storytelling to have a far more integral part within the stories.
I love the idea of exploring Koli's natural curiosity about Earth, the fact she was a living ship that ached to explore this strange new world with the inquisitiveness of a child. When I first created Koli in my head, she was nothing like she was to become. The more I wrote about her, the more I fell in love with the character. Slightly insane, always wanting to learn and so clumsy, she is one of the most endearing characters in the whole Symbiotica series and as things progressed, I wanted to tell more of her story until in book five, The Way Home I revealed the origins of Proteus itself and suddenly what was one living ship became five with the introduction of Terrik, Miras, Koshi and Vaj with the entire story of Proteus laid out, in part at least. I also in that book laid out a hint of the story to come, the idea that one of the Titans may have escaped.
That loose thread I dangled played on my mind and suddenly, the idea for Proteus as a series came about. The story of Miras and her brave and noble pilot Zenni Quinett. Of course, while I don't want to ruin the book, the Neo Alphius story expanded the story of Proteus, from the resurrection of Terrik, the unexpected arrival of Lunar, Terrik's twin sister, the nearly tragic consequences of what happened to Koli thanks to the events in The Way Home and of course the evolution of the Proteus species with the first naturally born Proteus ship, Miras's Daughter, Saya.
The Neo Alphius Saga was all about the cost of mistakes and error in judgement, and the efforts people will strive for to make things right. Miras and Orles's regrets and pain over the hell they had condemned their people to was the central theme and how far people will go to survive. This saga was the journey of one young ship as she fought overwhelming odds with her new friends to not only save their people, but her mother as well. By the end of the story we also learnt at least some of the missing years Koli and the survivors of Neo Alphius had spent as in The Way Home, I focused on Terrik and her crew as they fought to survive. At the end, while there was loss, there was a new beginning with a new world and new adventures to go on.
With the Endless Saga the story moved towards a new story looking at the fact the universe is not a playground, but has its shares of wonders, and terrors. Endless explored the idea of change and accepting the universe around us and moving with it and what would happen if we did not. It also looked at the fall out and consequences on a very personal level for the Proteus ships. It is fair to say that Endless was a very hard series for me to write.
This said, Endless threw up some personal questions for our heroes. Questions that we need to answer here on Earth. We strive to move forward creating ever more complex technologies, but we do not ask the question. Should we be looking at creating AI and if we do, what rights do we afford it?
That was where I left Endless. The idea that change is inevitable and must be embraced but also philosophically how to we deal with that change.
This brings me to where Proteus goes from here and the new three part trilogy to come.
The Neo Alphius Saga was a tense adventure about survival.
The Endless Saga was an action adventure about change.
I can finally reveal the new series is called the Natural Selection Saga and quite against what you have known it is an action adventure comedy.
Natural Selection carries on from where we left off at the end of the Endless Saga and the long running story deals with the fallout from the first six books which by the end will tie off everything neatly, however while this story goes on in the background, you will find the actual story is far more personal. When I originally planned the Endless Saga there was always going to be a seventh book, entitled Ghosts. During the writing of Endless, Ghosts became a lot more personal and evolved in to a new three part story with Ghosts, Evolution and New Horizons.
Ghosts is due out late September and is an absolute riot of a book, by far probably the funniest story I have written to date and for a change, the hero of the story is not Zenni or Saya but someone I introduced during the Endless Saga. Issi Rem is the tech support from hell, overworked, arrogant and extremely rude, not to mention being something of a coward. By rights this story is a tense action thriller with everything under threat and the prospect of Verlon City being destroyed and by itself that would be more than enough for a good read but throw in hysterical characters like Issi, Talishia, Sellie and Tath and a mystery that needs solving you have the ingredients for a quirky and funny read.
All I will say is the ending will leave everyone reeling.
See you in the next chapter!