In September 2022 I'm going to publish two new books - one a fiction and one a non-fiction. This is the first time I've published twice in one year, first time I've concluded a fiction series, and first time I've written/released a non-fiction book. So there have been quite a few firsts, all of which I felt it worthwhile to share my experiences on.
To start, my last book, Cryptic Kingdom (Civilands #4) came out in 2019. It is the pen-ultimate book in my first series so far, the Civilands series. Up until that point, I had been releasing about a book per year. Naturally, Cryptic Kingdom took a bit longer than the first three, due to all the storylines which must start being brought together in the climax of a series. This takes a lot of thought as you work to synthesize ideas which have accumulated over the course of years. Loose ends must be addressed, arcs must all be completed, and themes must be fleshed out. Overall I'm really proud of the work I did toward those ends on Cryptic Kingdom. Readers also seemed to appreciate it, as five star reviews including this one have followed:
As with the first 3 in the series, N.B. Austin was able to keep my attention throughout the book. I love how much the characters have grown throughout and became so mature.
... Things start falling in place, but the story isn't finished yet. I can't wait to find out the end in the final book.....2020 needs to get here quickly.
The Most Famous Last Words Ever: "2020 needs to get here quickly"
It is a blessing people have given my series a chance. It's even better some avid readers have stuck with it through four books. Trust me, as an indie publisher, I am more grateful for every reader earned than most probably understand. For over more than half a decade now I have given my absolute all crafting my books for those wonderful people, sending free copies whenever possible. If I could produce a new book every day for them without sacrificing the quality, I would. And I had every intention to work as efficiently as possible on Civilands #5, once #4 had wrapped. In fact, I knew how the beginning, middle, and ending would play out. But then, spring 2020 happened...
As many will know by now, the world shut down and people lost their minds about the common cold. While my saying that may or may not anger you, that's what happened. Being a health statistician professionally at this time, particularly one who specializes in morbidity and mortality risk, I was particularly flabbergasted by the complete disregard by almost all scientific institutions of their most basic standards of practice.
Absurdity was simply boundless at times and this was a lot to deal with mentally. While I refused to let myself or those around me be overtaken by despair - my dog beat cancer, I got engaged and later married in 2020/2021 - this time honestly changed the way I see the entire world. At one point things got so crazy I was denied care at an urgent care clinic with a parasite because I wasn't, "Covid," tested or inoculated. That was a traumatic amount of discrimination and dehumanization. But again, no despair.
Writing When the World is Losing Its Mind
While I was able to get words on the page and make a lot of progress, it was a serious challenge writing a fiction book in 2020. Since reality was so much crazier than anything I felt I could imagine, I had a really hard time focusing on the task at hand. When you add the fact that I was constantly absorbing information on the Covid era itself, my mind was simply not where it needed to be to deliver the finale my fiction series deserved.
So I did the only thing I could do: I pivoted.
Instead of trying to force out a story I wasn't ready to tell the right way, I spent all my time putting down what had been consuming my mind for more than a year at that point. With thousands of links and documentation saved, I started writing the story I was uniquely positioned to tell on the Covid era, given my focus and expertise. What resulted was a 600+ page, 1,600+ citation synthesis of this time period titled Stranger Than Fiction: Corruption and Crimes Against Humanity in the Covid Era.
Stranger Than Fiction
Despite how massive the undertaking of writing this book was, the words simply flowed out of my mind and onto the page. Just like with my first books, I had been brought back to the joy of effortless writing - of telling the story you're ready to tell, when you're ready to tell it. It is something I couldn't have imagined experiencing with a non-fiction book prior, especially one with an amount of information this tremendous.
The result is a historical synthesis I truly feel I was called by God to put in writing. It is one which will both help people make sense of what happened in this shocking time and also, perhaps more importantly, help future generations understand how it was made possible.
To someone who doesn't write I would describe it like putting a puzzle together. When you are ready to write, your brain provides the outline of the pieces you are to bring together. When you aren't, it's like putting a puzzle together without any hint of the image you're trying to assemble. That was Civilands #5 for me, and it would continue to be until Stranger Than Fiction was done. And then... it was!
Two New Books, One Year
Fortunately, a lot of progress was already made on Crevasse Colossus (Civilands #5) by the time my mind was ready to give it my entire effort. When that time came, I dove in and experienced the same effortlessness once again. In fact, it made me a little emotional at times, especially as I realized this would be the last time I'd be telling this incredible story about these characters who all carried with them a piece of me.
Today the books are both in the final stages prior to release, with the first beta readers diving into their copies. After all the work and experiences it took to get here, I cannot possibly be more excited to unleash some of my life's best work.