The Undercurrent – out now in Australia and New Zealand – is a speculative thriller set in near-future Australia and, yes, it’s a standalone novel.
There are two main reasons for this.
Firstly, after the challenge of telling a story over four books with the Rephaim series, I wanted to push myself to write a tightly contained narrative in a single novel.
Secondly – and more importantly – when I understood the story I wanted to tell with these characters, I realised it only needed one book to do it.
It took me a while to get a feel for these characters, their world and where I wanted to take the story. There were many false starts. I think I re-wrote the first 25,000 words at least a dozen times before I figured out what I was doing. (There were more re-writes once I had a full draft, but I understood the terrain by then.)
I had a number of competing priorities in my life at the time and felt like I could never get my teeth into this story, but it did come together, piece by piece, taking longer than I expected because I needed to get it right.
I tend to do everything at pace, but life was forcing me to slow down with the book and take my time. I hope I’ve produced a good novel as a result. It’s ambitious, I know. I hope it takes people by surprise (in a good way!). Most of all, I hope they’re hooked by the characters and the story, and enjoy the ride.