So. Er. Some clarity. Or: A thing you ought to know (that may or may not make me appear more sane when babbling later on).
If you know this already you can to skip this bit. Otherwise, this will function as a history lesson.
I wrote The Path of the Monster as the creative component of my doctoral thesis. Curtin’s theory of a creative doctorate is that you produce a giant essay (the usual result of a research degree) and a creative thing. The Creative Thing can be art, or robots, or origami, or (in my case) a book. And the idea is that the two — the research essay and the creative thing — somehow work together and inform each other to explore the same research question.
Which I thought sounded more interesting than the version some universities have where you just write about your own writing. Not that I can’t do that ad nauseam — hello! But it didn’t really feel like it would advance the knowledge of mankind or whatever it is that doctorates are meant to do. Plus, I thought the self-referential nature of the work might over time send me insane. So my research was all literature and psychology and: Self! Other! Identity! Subjectivity! Aliens!! (‘Aliens’ get two exclamation marks cause they’re super exiting.)*
But somewhere along the way (and this is the relevant bit) the book ended up a bit longer than it was meant to be. One and half times longer, in fact. Which… I didn’t mean to, okay? It just happened! Don’t look at me like that.
So after the doctorate thing was done, and I had a nap (which I had been looking forward to for three years), I picked up a hatchet and chopped the book in half (not literally, the hardcopy is good for clubbing burglars). And now it’s two books of more reasonable length. But this means that I sometimes refer to ‘the original book’ which is different to ‘book one’ although not really cause the first half of it is book one… Er. That sentence got away from me a bit. You know what I mean. (If you don’t you should poke me with something and I will… probably be incoherent at you again, but in a different way.) Let me try again: the first two books in the series were built out of the original book I wrote for my doctorate. (Who said I couldn’t be coherent if I tried really hard?)
This is why sometimes when I talk about the first book I become unintelligible. But the book isn’t. Promise. It’s perfectly sane. Well, maybe not the bit about the five thousand chickens. Or that bit with the dragon. Actually, most of the bits with the dragons. Okay, let’s go with ‘perfectly delightful’. Charming, even. Riveting. Brilliant. Hilarious. Other words that make it sound like something you’d want to read. There aren’t any rocket launchers, though. Sorry. But, swords! Swords are cool!
* If anyone is actually interested I could post some of that stuff here too (I don’t mean the aliens, everyone’s interested in the aliens, I meant the, you know, academic wordage).