The Empyraeum Cycle began life almost 20 years ago as quite the different concept. It had the same general shape, many of the same characters but was not simply ready yet. It spent all but two of those twenty years watching the banks of the Styx uncertainly; unsure of whether to try and attract Charon's attention or not. Reworks were done, new ideas were floated then sank. Immaturity played a none too small role in part.
It is easy to forget that what one experiences does affect what one writes and creates. One's experiences do not limit what one is able to write about, though, one just is naturally more able to write about things one knows best.
So. It was a mere two years ago that something changed...
I had been playing around, in my head, with a concept for a long time but could not come up with a good way to get it started. I considered, I wrote, I screwed the results into a ball and tossed them....then, one day out of the blue as it were; it happened.
The words started to fall into place, almost as if they were doing it by themselves.
What began as a simple idea decided that it was going to evolve. I suddenly found a way to make all of my fragmentary ideas and pieces of writing (never throw away what might look like a bad idea at the time, that is my advice) fit together and start to form a coherent - if complex and knotted - whole.
Two years ago, the Empyraen Collections were born. Containing some old and abandoned short stories, chapter fragments and brand new works, they started to explore this strange new and different - but not unrecognisably different - world. A world in which Alexander the Great had somehow refused to die in 323 B.C and somehow gone on to not actually die at all. The Collections represent an exploration of the Empryaeum Universe, it's history and key events that lead up to what would become the first chapter of A Flame Undying, the soon to be the first novel of the main series (expect it around August 2020). The Collections also began to layer on the complexity of the story which was now starting to impose itself upon me.
Next came the Empyraen Novellas. Character studies, first and foremost, of the main players in events leading up to A Flame Undying. The Novellas set the scene and, when Son of the Dragon (Novellas Five/Epsilon) reaches its dramatic end, the series will begin five mere minutes afterwards. Essentially, the novellas tell the same story from five different points of view but it is much deeper than that. Novellas two and three link back to events leading up to Novella one. Novella four underpins all the other three. Novellas five shows us that time is neither as stable and as linear as we'd previously thought; nor as inviolable.
The planned first Empyraeum Trilogy, as we mentioned, takes off immediately where Son of the Dragon left off. What is to come in that series of novels is seriously foreshadowed in both the Collections & Novellas so, although the novels will stand alone and reading the previous works is not essential, it is recommended for a deeper enjoyment of the series as a whole.
Even the poetry used and the order in which it is presented is no accident. The idea is that the tone of the piece which proceeds it will colour how one interprets the story which follows...
There are no accidents, there is no coincidence. There are simply plays we have not untangled yet. Remember the famous Gordian Knot and how Alexander 'solved' that great puzzle...