In 2010, my first child was born, and she did not enjoy sleeping. In fact the only time she properly started sleeping through the night was when her brother was born the next year. And he really did not enjoy sleeping. I used to do the majority of my writing late at night, and it was pretty clear that something had to give: apparently it’s a lot easier to stop writing than it is to give away two children who don’t sleep, so that’s what I did.
A few people asked me if I could write them some words, and I apologised as best I could. A few people asked for something short, and I wanted to say yes. But even a two thousand word story became a slog, with barely 50 words getting down on the page before I had to pack up for the night. My attention span was shot, and eventually I started being glad nobody was asking for anything longer. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to write anything substantial ever again.
Then, in August 2012, Stuart Douglas of Obverse Books asked if I’d like to write a Faction Paradox book.
At that point, the sleepless nights had started to settle down into the odd rough night a week. Stuart didn’t have a specific deadline for the book - in fact, he had a run of things waiting to be published so all he knew for sure was that it wouldn’t be needed soon. He wasn’t particularly prescriptive about what the story needed to be: the Faction Paradox series is stand alone, so there was no ongoing narrative that needed to be served and no recurring characters to service. I knew that if I said no to this, then I would never have a better opportunity to ease myself back into the saddle.
It was a choice between saying yes, or accepting I’d never write again.
I said yes.