Finding a Signal is coming to a close. There’s probably one or two feels left – but we’re (at the time of writing this) two chapters from the end of the book.

So this is probably the right time to talk about what’s coming next.

In looking at what I’ve got planned, and what I want to write, all the little subplots and story points I want to hit…I’ve decided to go for a slightly different route.

Instead of 80-100k books, we’re going to experiment with the idea of doing episodes – being defined as novellas 20-40k in length – so that I can play with a particular story point that might otherwise get lost in a longer book, or might be messily squished together with a couple of other plots.

When it comes to writing, I generally go with my gut – and usually this works out for the best. I take some stumble steps sometimes – some people may remember I experimented with a version of Mirrorheart that…essentially skipped Mirrorheart (ie, Ryan brough Stef straight back to the Agency, and tried to do everything above-board from the start) – and it wasn’t until I was about twenty chapters in that I realised how valuable Mirrorheart was.

I had always kind of viewed Mirrorheart as a nothing book – where it was just all quiet introspection, a break from action…and it wasn’t until I was seriously considering skipping it that I found out how much it was really needed – there’s a value, I think, in seeing the world continuing on without Stef, that outside of a couple of notable exceptions (Ryan, and Curt for his own reasons) her death goes by almost completely unremarked.

Stef isn’t the lynchpin that the world spins on, her death doesn’t leave a void, she’s just someone who accidentally got herself killed. And that was important to see.

Mirrorshades and Finding a Signal were originally the one book – started with Stef becoming an agent, and ended with Russia. In the original canon, Mirrorshades then went onto an unrelated Mags and Taylor book (The Grey Edge) which is being stripped from the canon for being stupid and crap (don’t worry, got a much better Mags/Taylor book planned)…everyone got back to the Agency, and there was really no…dealing with the fallout.

Curt did get his absolution from Stef, but we never saw the…logical guilt/self-destructive spiral that would surely result from torturing a friend. I wanted to show that (sorry Curt), but I felt it was important to show what happened, and not just let it conveniently slide, that just wouldn’t be true, or right for the series.

So MS and FAS became two books, for the better I believe.

(I still kinda have to pinch myself to realise that Stef had a one night stand. Stef. What the. But it was so cute. Right?)

So going forward we’re going to have “Seasons” instead of books – starting with Season 5 (as the next book would have been Book #5. See? Genius logic at work.)

Whilst some of the later seasons will be far more structured (for those of you who remember Oubliette…we’re going to have an entire season dedicated to the phoenixes), the first one will be a bit looser whilst we get a grip on how it works.

With that in mind, we’re happy to announce:

Require: Cookie, Season 5, The New Status Quo.

The first four books were set up, in their way, here we’ll actually start to see some of the more regular workings of the Agency, the more day-to-day stuff, and maybe even see a few cases being worked on. 😀

Of course, I’m breaking my own idea with the first Episode – The Importance of Imagination – wherein Hook goes outside the established procedures to ask Stef for her help in dealing with an agent abusing his kid.

(And the first chapter of IOI might just be my favourite first chapter ever. It’s adorable.)