Sorry about the silence over the last couple of days. I've officially started writing the as-yet-untitled 2019 novel. The tentative title is The Fall Of The Hammer — a holdover name from a really old project, since I recycled a number of concepts from it into this one.
There isn't much to report so far — a few thousand words, a couple of hurdles cleared. I will say, without spoiling anything, that a few specific aspects of the project stand out so far:
The voice and tone of the work is nothing like any of my previous projects. Which is fine, because that's something you could say about most anything else I've done! There may be common elements between projects; Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned and Welcome To The Fold are both very New York-centric stories, for instance. But I tend to be very self-conscious about not repeating the flavor of a work if I can help it. Every single one of the new projects I've undertaken has been a knight's-move of sorts, two steps forward and one to the side.
I've hinted before at how one of the main influences this time around was the ensemble superhero story. Not because I wanted to write such a thing, but because in such stories I saw ingredients, themes, conceits that I wanted to lift out and use in a slightly different context. Many people will read the completed story and never make a connection between it and four-color comics, and that's fine; my job here is not to insist that people make the connection.
The mission is to move fast and keep things compact. After the sprawl of the last couple of books, I'm trying to do more with less. I hated that the story I wanted to tell in AONO ended up being 200,000+ words, or that Flight Of The Vajra was almost twice as along as that. I tell myself that was because I had Reasons for going at the lengths I did, but I know too well how Reasons can justify themselves. If it goes above 120,000 words, I'll have nobody to blame but myself.
The moment I'm writing this in is leaving its mark. I'm not saying that the book is a roman a clef about the current administration. More that the flavor of the times we're all currently stuck in (and which many of us are trying our damndest to get unstuck from) is going to be in the book. I suspect that would have happened with any book I tried to write right now, but it's all the more so in this case.