Here is it, at last - the cover for the second book in the second species trilogy, Deep Blue. It will be released on the 19th of July, so not long to wait, and you can preorder it on amazon here.
This was an incredibly difficult book to write. I know second books often are, as they are the the impossible second album, but this book was really, really difficult. I had my deadline extended and still wasn't able to really finish it. It turned into a book that would not end and when I finally sent it to my editor, it was 20K too long and I had to hide under the duvet in shame.
If you follow me on twitter, you probably know that I have a disease called Endometriosis. This is a horrible condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other places in the body. It cycles with the hormones of the menstrual cycle, so it swells and then it bleeds, and it really, really hurts. I'd been diagnosed with it in early 2016 when I was working on an early draft of Deep Blue. I had 3 surgeries in 14 months, seemingly endless drug treatments that didn't work, and I won't gross you out with the details, suffice to say that it was utterly grim and although the NHS can be amazing, it can also be terrifyingly incompetent.
This book kept me going through all that. It gave me an escape from things that I had to get through but couldn't let myself think too deeply about. It gave me purpose and direction and something to do, which is incredibly important in that situation. It also gave me a place to say all the things I couldn't say out loud.
8 weeks after my third surgery, revisions on the book came back. Over the next three months I cut somewhere in the region of 50 thousand words, and wrote 30 thousand new ones. Looking back now I have no idea how I did it - that surgery was hell. I had PTSD after the hospital screwed up my notes and I was left with no pain relief on the evening of the op, and I had complications 2 weeks later and lost a over a litre of blood, most of it all over the floor in A&E. But again, working on this book got me through it, and I have to thank my agent Ella Kahn and my editor Anna Boatman for the help and support they gave me.
Sometimes we underestimate the importance of creativity, and fiction, and what they can bring to our lives, but they can be incredibly healing. In the end, although it was written during an incredibly difficult time, I think that Deep Blue is a hopeful, optimistic book. It's a story of love in the face of adversity (as well as aliens and spaceships and awesomeness, obvs). I love it, and I hope that everyone else will too.
So here it is everyone. Deep Blue.
Jinnifer Blue opens her eyes to find herself in a nightmare. Her plan to expose the horrific truth behind the government's secret Second Species programme has failed, and now she's being turned into a weapon by her worst enemy . . . her mother.
At the other end of the galaxy Caspian Dax, ferocious space pirate and Jinn's sometime lover, is facing an even more terrifying fate. He's being forced to fight in the arena on Sittan, a pitiless, ruthless alien landscape where blood is the only prize that matters. They will use him, destroy him, change him.
Jinn has only one chance - to go to Sittan and find Dax before his mind is completely destroyed. She must rely on her friends and one old enemy, leave her beloved ship the Mutant behind, and travel to a hostile planet. But hardest of all, she must keep faith that when she finds Dax, there will be something left of the man she knew.
One thing's for sure: the fight has only just begun