The construction of Codename: Winterborn was as backwards as a novel could be. I had come in on the middle of the construction of someone else's world. Allan Yoskowitz, whose name you'll also note on the cover, was busy creating the San Francisco of 2095 when I ran into him. He wanted a war that created a nuclear wasteland around San Francisco, creating a pocket nightmare on the left coast. He had a series of short stories that he dubbed "The Last Survivors."
As Allan fed me this concept, over time, I had multiple questions: if there's a civilization out there, how much was nuked? How much of the world, and how much of the United States was left? Was there cross pollination between the two? If there was a lot, how much would cash still be effective? What was general currency?
After a while, I had one last question, a simple concept: governments are still around, therefore satellites are still around. After a while, perhaps a year at most, somebody was going to notice that there was a great big patch on the coast where there's obviously people. In fact, if there are the standard Evil Big Corporations, someone in government circles will eventually point out that, gee whiz, people are coming to and fro from somewhere that doesn't exist.
In short, governments will obviously be aware of San Francisco, desolate distopian wasteland or not ... but enough about current events.
From there, it was an easy leap to the concept of The Inconvenient. Political prisoners that needed to be disappeared, or dangerous entities that had to be thrown away for the public good. Have a nutcase SAS operative who insists that Northern Ireland needs to be blown up? The British have a convenient rest home for him in California.
Have an American who used to be a spy and became a pain in the ass? Send him on a fact finding mission and leave him to rot.
I ran the concept past Allan. He wanted to call them "Exiles." I rolled my eyes, but it fit with the rest of the simpleminded thugs wandering San Francisco. It could have been worse: there could still be an Occupy moment. In fact, there might still be. When I suggested a spy being dropped in San Francisco, Allan wanted to call him "Mister Anderson," because someone saw the Matrix.
My reply was to call him Kevin, because I'm a smartass, and I followed Kevin J. Anderson.
I put together one short story called Letters from a Dead Man, which was Kevin Anderson looking into a terraforming company, and discovered a plot that would threaten everything that Kevin had left.
I was then offered the job of co-author.
Since I was now going to play in someone else's universe, then things got serious. I brought one of my souvenir maps of San Francisco, we laid out who would be where, and we went to work. We made maps. We made histories. We did background. We slapped together flashbacks.
And then, I started working on the project I called 2093, and it would be a prequel novel for Kevin Anderson's history. It was one part Vince Flynn's Term Limits, only science fiction, and if you had actual consequences., And by consequences, I mean that we have emotional loss, and no, not everything is resolved for the character.
For everyone who has ever visited the blog before, it then followed in the words of every other writing project I've ever been involved with, so say it with me: "And Then, It Spiraled."
For those who read Codename: Winterborn, you might have noticed that it felt like two books. This is because I was an idiot who really thought that books had to be 100,000 words or more. Also, I didn't like the idea of Winterborn being a To Be Continued, especially not for a book 1. You'll notice I tried to avoid a To Be Continued for both A Pius Man and Honor at Stake.
But as "2093" continued into the realm of San Francisco, Kevin Anderson's story apparently didn't feel finished to readers. And no one at the time suggested splitting the book.
What ended up happening was that the "prequel" ended up eating what had been book 1, and "2093" had become Codename: Winterborn. When I say it ate book one, every event of book 1 ended Codename: Winterborn, from an assassin nearly being killed to Catholic missionaries riding to the rescue.
And now, after four years, and eight books later, I'm pleased to announce the release of the sequel to Codename: Winterborn, Codename: UnSub, coming out October 28.
Codename: UnSub is a simple premise.
Back in the "real world," Kevin Anderson had worn many hats: SEAL, spy, avenger, and Winterborn. Since being exiled into San Francisco of 2094, Kevin has tried to settle in as best he can. He acts as the threat that keeps Chinatown safe. He's got a friend in the local assassin. The private military contractor had agreed to stay away from him. The drugs dealers stay out of his way on fear of death. And the area death cult think that he's the second coming of Kali.So, dramatic enough yet?
So who would be dumb enough to leave a body practically on Kevin's doorstep?
The murder of a local businessman puts Kevin's position in jeopardy. It makes him look week and ineffectual. All Kevin has to do is find the killer, and teach him the error of his ways, preferably in a permanent fashion. But the killer has left his mark, and it's of a professional killer. The suspects are few and far between, but they're all dangerous.
When the next bodies start to hit the ground, it becomes clear that Kevin is dealing with something new to this San Francisco: a serial killer.
And now, without modern forensics, databases, police forces, and relying purely on his wits, Kevin must delve into the underbelly of this nightmare city, in search of a man deadlier than any he has ever encountered before.
The one thing neither Kevin or the serial killer knows is that they're on a collision course that will either save the world or destroy it.