Per some old emailed “notes to self” I’ve unearthed, I see that I had already begun to scour library catalogs for research materials on the history of espionage way back in September 2016. In spring of 2017, one hundred forty-one pictures and a half-of-a-carry-on of books from the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. came home with me from a business trip. Fall of 2017 was, I believe, the first time I said, aloud, at an author presentation the premise for Magical Intelligence…
Volume One releases in just under two weeks.
The launch has caught me off guard, what with all the things going on in the world with Covid-19. Every physical release event has been sidelined and my own household has gone topsy-turvy. There’s been a priority shift, you know?
But I realized that, as usual, I have ever so much to say about the how and the why of this particular story. And even if M.I. just quietly slips out into the reading world sans-fanfare and some big launch party, I would like to share a little bit of the inner workings of the book and my process in bringing it to folks.
Magical Intelligence is, like Bookminder before it, a historical fantasy. Every location in London? Absolutely findable on a map. (Granted, places associated with magical espionage tend to be… shall we say… inaccessible to us ‘ords’ and don’t always look like the type of establishments geared towards spy work. But then, I suppose, that’s the point. Also there’s the little matter of a hundred+ years having passed since the events of M.I., volume 1.) I’ve sheaves of papers and folders of pdfs detailing the different systems of laylines which cross the earth.
And then there’s those books and pictures from the Spy Museum. At the risk of giving away any spoilers (mild, and generally inconsequential, I assure you) I’m calling out a few fun ones below; things I actually put to use in book 1.
Other fascinating items include:
(…some of which will most likely make appearance in future volumes, my having already worked out some plot points around these. Tobacco pipe pistol? How cool is that!)
In any event, I guess I just wanted to throw together a few fun things that I learned along the long journey of conception to publication for this next book/series.
(P.S. While not something I learned at the Spy Museum, in my research I did come across whispers and rumors of an invention obliquely referred to in M.I. by Mr. Julius Griggs: a chain-mail parasol. Queen Victoria faced several attempts on her life–another grouping of factual details appearing within the plot of M.I.–and said parasol was reportedly conceived to help shield her in the event of an attack.
P.P.S. As Mr. Julius Griggs is not available to develop one of those fascinating devices for me, I am open to considerations by other clever makers. 😉 Granted, if I find myself facing an assassin, I suppose I have entered the wrong line of work.)