The Lodestone Series sprang from an idea that I had had for a little while. Einstein's relativity theory predicts the existence of negative matter. Although we have never found any, we know it would have some pretty weird properties, like negative inertia and negative gravity. I started to think, what would happen to a society where this stuff existed?
The idea of two female leads also appealed to me - characters who were opposed to each other, but who had to come together to save their world. It's their conflict that really drives the story forward in Book One.
I have a growing file of ideas for short stories that I haven't had time to write. For example, one, entitled "A Picnic in the Crystal Forest" has to do with quantum entanglement. A family, experiencing a planet-wide natural disaster in complete safety through their shadowy quantum alter-egos are suddenly thrust into the midst of the destruction and are forced to fight for their lives with dire consequences to themselves and their view of life.
Another has a world with subterranean layers, each of which is a separate world in itself. A kind of "Alice in Wonderland meets Journey to the Centre of the Earth." Some of these could become full fledged novels in time. My ideas always come faster than my writing. There's never enough time to do justice to them all!
Wells, Verne, Asimov and Heinlein were my childhhood friends. In later life, I have grown to love Stephen Donaldson and Stephen Baxter. I guess it's as if all of them are standing over my shoulder when I write, if that doesn't sound too corny!
I am currently waiting for the third installment of Paul Kearney's "Sea Beggars" trilogy. He is not the most consistent writer, but when he's good, he's absolutely brilliant.
As I said before, I had had the basic idea for Lodestone for some considerable time. When I started, I read several books on the craft of writing. I started to plot everything out on cards like you're supposed to. What I found was that that technique was a bit of a straightjacket. I, as author wanted my characters to do one thing, but they wanted to do another. And the funny thing was that the character was invariably right!
Now I just have a few "line notes" giving the general direction of the story and I let my characters "live" and tell me how they're going to cope with the various situations that come up. For example, in a scene in the third book, the party is deciding who is going to go on a particular mission. As I was writing it, one of the female characters I hadn't considered put up her hand and said "I'll go." When I thought about it, she was absolutely right! She needed to go along because the story would be much stronger as a result!
Some will say that doing it that way gives you problems in plot and development, but I found that dealing with those "problems" actually produces some of the best results. In the first book for example, Keris has to enter the Fortress of Gort to do a number of important tasks. But I had teamed her up with Boxx, so that left the problem of what to do with the Chandara? She couldn't take it with her as it would detract from what she was doing, but she couldn't leave it out in the desert either. That led to the scene where Boxx is attacked by youths and the whole concept of the Chandara risking everything to help the Kelanni, yet still being on the receiving end of Kelanni prejudice. It's an especially poignant moment when Boxx reflects Keris' own words back to her - "Kelanni Fear What They Do Not Understand."
I think when you finish a book and put it "out there", there is always a feeling of trepidation. You feel you have done the best work you can, but there is no way to be certain how others will recieve it. When I put the book out for pre-publication reviews, I was anxious to see what the reaction would be. Last week, I received the first of those reviews:-
“Once again, Whiteway creates a whole new world for us to revel in. The author hits his stride in terms of plot development and continuous action. In Book Two, Whiteway takes the time, (and wonderfully), to give each of the major characters a distinct personality, and develops intricate relationships and conflicts between them all.
I can honestly say that Book Two is better than the first, and that is quite an accomplishment. This is an absolute must read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” Gregg J. Haugland, Allbooks Reviews
The main story arc for the Lodestone series will be completed by the end of the third book. However, Book Three will end with a hook into a possible fourth - a mystery surrounding Annata's last message from the past. I am already playing out scenes from the fourth book in my imagination. However, whether the fourth book gets written or not will depend on the reaction to the series as a whole. The fourth book would take place in the Lodestone universe, but would strike out in a whole new direction.
On the other hand, I have been thinking a lot about my multi-layered world. The main characters would be younger I think - nothing sees wonder quite like the eyes of a child. However, the science behind it would need some work to make it believable, not to mention the purpose behind those who built it. A lot of my ideas are like that. They swim around like fish just beneath the surface of a pond. Occassionally they break the surface, and I get to see them for what they really are.