I started writing my Acid Vanilla series last year. In 2019. A whole year before the COVID-19 outbreak. Back then I had it all planned out, a 6 book arc that, whilst able to be read out of sequence – dealt with Acid’s revenge mission.
Problem was the series is set in the modern day – and it’s not that easy for an ex-assassin to go on a bloody revenge mission when she’s in lockdown.
Now of course, one school of thought might be that someone living on the fringes of society (and certainly not interested in following any laws) could, and would, continue on as normal.
But then there’s the questions:
Do you write in the pandemic?
And if everyone is staying locked in their homes, is the series really going to be that rich with thrills and excitement?
My personal opinion is that even writers of fiction have a duty to the truth. And a series set in the modern world HAS to at least reference the situation. Otherwise it just feels weird. I know if picked up a book set in 2020 and the characters were going about their daily lives without a care in the world, going to bars and restaurants, meeting friends, hugging, kissing, not having to sing songs while they washed their hands – it’d feel wrong to me. Out of place and clunky.
I feel lucky however that it hit at just the time where I’ve been able to come up with a solution. Which is, basically to straddle the pandemic – and, hopefully, reference it from a point of view that it’s over. (Because we can dream, right?)
So The Watcher (Acid Vanilla book 1) is set in early 2018. It’s cold out, the end of winter turning to spring. (Phew, glad I set it then, was a total lucky break).
Then the rest of the first few books (Seven Bullets (2), The Hunt (3), Sister Death (4) and TBC (5) (not the title obviously, am still thinking of it)) will be set 2018 – early 2020, before the pandemic struck.
Then from book 6 (Never Say Die) onwards, there will be a time leap and they will all be set after the pandemic – again, like you, like everyone, I really hope there is an after at some point very soon!
In fact I’ve even written a part where I reference it for book 6 already (only rough I hasten to add):
After being stuck inside with nothing to do – not even able to get a decent drink in a dingy bar for (X) months – Acid was relieved to get away from it all. Hell, she’d never admit this to anyone, least of all Spook, but she was actually glad to see people again. Civilians, even. It wouldn’t last of courses, she was certain of that. Give it a week or two and she’d be back to her usual cynical self. It was going to take more than a global pandemic and a year of isolation for Acid Vanilla to settle into polite society. But at least it was done with. At last. The threat gone. The insanity over. They said it originated in bats and that didn’t surprise Acid one little bit.
If you’ve read The Watcher then you’ll appreciate the bats reference. As soon as I heard that I knew I had to include it somewhere.
So that’s my plan anyway, my schedule has book 6 due out Spring 2022 so it’s got to be over by then, right? Right?
Regardless – for now, thanks for reading. I hope you’re staying safe and managing to find pockets of fun and love and creativity amongst the craziness and sorrow. Be well.