With the exception of my first novel (Principles of Angels), Hidden Sun is the book that has taken the longest time to go from ‘what if’ to published novel.
This is partly because it brings together a lot of stuff which has been bubbling away under the surface, including long-term obsessions and a pleasant early experience. Also, it’s science fantasy, and if I had to chose between science fiction and fantasy then actually I’d chose the combination, i.e. science fantasy. It really is the best of both, or rather many, worlds, and I’ve wanted to write some for ages.
Hidden Sun also took a while to find its way onto bookshelves because it’s a quirky little thing. Put frankly, it was hard to sell; I might love science fantasy, but the publicity departments of the major publishers don’t share that love. And it’s a pretty ambitious book – or rather story, as Hidden Sun is only half the tale. It goes to some difficult places, and risks upsetting some people; though I don’t generally worry much about reviews – once a book’s out there, people are entitled to their opinions – there is a somewhat impassioned one-star review/rant on Goodreads (and, more unfortunately, Amazon) which rather ruined my week.
As I write this I’m on the home straight with the sequel, Broken Shadow, the second half of the story. It’s been quite a ride, not least because while Hidden Sun was a work of several years, publisher’s deadlines wait for no woman, and Broken Shadow has been written in a few short months, during which I’ve pretty much lived it to the exclusion of all else. As such, I am unable to give any objective opinion on it except to say that what is set up in Hidden Sun pays off in Broken Shadow, and I don’t think I’ve ever put a set of characters through the wringer quite so much.