Why Alter Road?


How I came to write fiction didn't happen overnight (see my previous post, An Academic Foray into Fiction).

I always had the itch to write. Over the years, I would write various scenes that I had in mind. I sketched out some outlines as well as vague ideas for novels.

After making tenure, I thought maybe now is the time.

It wasn't.

I was still very much engaged with my research program, teaching, and other professional commitments and I didn't have the time to dedicate to writing a novel.

I still added more scenes and outlines, and at some point I realized that one particular idea had accumulated over 20,000 words. That was the moment that I decided to go for it for real.

Alter Road was not the book I had originally intended to write. The book I had in mind was one inspired by the ordeal of a colleague who was arrested in a foreign country because of his academic work and held in custody for months. This was during the George W. Bush era. The country is an ally of the United States, and so his arrest there made him suspect here as well.

The scenes I had written, though, pointed to a backstory. They also suggested that the book I had in mind was not the final story but only an act in a broader story.

The book I was writing was the start of the backstory. That book became Alter Road.

I have a clearer picture now of where I want to go from here. At least I think I do.

The broader story will undoubtedly change as I go, but I am calling the broader story Shatter. Consider Alter Road as Book 1 of the Shatter series, which I currently imagine to be a series of about four or five books.

I am about 40,000 words into Book 2 of the series, which is more or less halfway through.

The working title is Red Glare.

I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

For now.