I’d planned to write a long post about the awesomeness of Blue Heaven yesterday. But the insomnia cycle hit pretty hard, so I was too brain dead to do much of anything.
I’ve related this anecdote many times, so I won’t repeat the details, but as I’ve said before my original idea for what became the Milkweed books was for a single standalone book set during the 1960s. And then, you know, lots of stuff became clear once I actually thought things through, such as the fact the whole story was far too large for one book, which is how it turned into a trilogy.
So I sort of had to write Bitter Seeds just to set up the Cold War scenario I originally wanted to explore. (And then I had to write Necessary Evil just to bring the story to full completion.) Along the way, that middle book changed to accommodate a larger story, and different characters, and different rules. But if I squint I can still see the bones of the original standalone idea hidden deep inside The Coldest War:
I wanted to riff on the legend of Cincinnatus. It’s not a running theme in The Coldest War as I’d originally imagined for the standalone book, but it’s present in one scene. And that makes me happy. I quite like the scene in question.
And I also knew that the Cold War era of the story would begin with an assassin tracking down and killing a warlock. I even knew what the first line of that scene would be. While the ensuing story changed considerably, both the opening scene and the opening sentence survived into the completed trilogy.
I also knew what the final sentence of The Coldest War would be—what it had to be—before I started writing Bitter Seeds. But that’s best left to a different blog post.