Some questions seem to come up time and time again. You might say they’re asked…frequently. Here’s my best shot at answering them.
Q: So, is The Caledonian Gambit part of the Galactic Cold War series or not?
A: I consider The Caledonian Gambit canon in the world of the Galactic Cold War. It takes place in the same universe, features many of the same characters, and takes place chronologically before the other books. Someone on GoodReads designated it “Book 0” and I’m happy with that idea—you might consider it a prequel to the later books.
Q: Why exactly is Gambit treated differently?
A: Business, baby. The Caledonian Gambit was published by Talos Press, whereas both The Bayern Agenda and The Aleph Extraction are published by Angry Robot Books. I’m immensely gratified that I got to continue writing this world and these characters, but for obvious reasons, when Bayern came out from a new publisher, we didn’t want to confuse people by calling it “Book II” or imply that you had to run out and purchase a book from another publisher.
Q: All right, so which book should I start with?
A: I think both Gambit and The Bayern Agenda are good entry points for the series! If you’re a completist—you know who you are—then start with Gambit. If you’re looking to dive into the meat of the ongoing story arc and don’t mind filling in character back story later, Bayern will suit you just fine. You could even jump in with The Aleph Extraction, but I do have to warn you that it will spoil some events at the end of Bayern.
Q: Why is your book not available/on sale in my country?
A: Unfortunately, I don’t control pricing or availability of any my novels—those are solely at the discretion of the publisher and, occasionally, the store itself. If none of my books are available in any stores in your region, it’s likely due to some sort of rights thing, but you can always let me know and I’ll see if there’s anything I can do. But sadly, it’s probably not within my power.
Q: What format should I buy your book in? What makes you the most money?
A: First, let me take a second to say that you rock—that you’re even asking this is very flattering. But let me tell you that the best format to buy the book in is whatever format you will read it in. If you prefer that inimitable smell of a brand new book, buy the paper copy! If you like the compact and easily transportable world of ones and zeroes, get the ebook! Want somebody to murmur pleasingly into your ears? Pick up the audiobook.
Do I make different amounts from different formats? I do! As do most publishers. But although the money is nice, the differences are not so substantial on a per-copy basis that I worry about a few percent here and there. Simply buying the book in any format is a huge help, and even more so if you like it enough to recommend it to someone else. Heck, if you want to wait until the book is on sale for a cheaper price, I won’t hold it against you.
Q: Okay, but seriously: should I buy it from a particular site or store?
A: I’ll always recommend you support your local bookshop, whether by ordering directly from them or via sites like Indiebound and Bookshop. But if it’s easiest for you to buy it from Amazon or Apple Books or Barnes & Noble, by all means, you have my blessing.
Q: So you probably hate libraries then, right?
A: What? Are you…okay? No, I don’t hate libraries—pretty much no author does. Personally, both of my parents were professional librarians, as are several other members of my family. I worked in libraries as a teenager, college student, and thereafter. So unless there’s some sort of really latent rebellion against my parents going on, I don’t see how I could possibly hate libraries. I mean, they’re amazing! Full of books and movies and music? Who the hell hates libraries? LET ME AT ‘EM.
Q: Where do you get your ideas? How do you write books? WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?
A: My secret shall go with me to the grave! But I’ve talked a bunch about my writing process. Check out the episodes I recorded with my friend Jason Snell at The Incomparable on writing The Caledonian Gambit, The Bayern Agenda, and The Aleph Extraction. I also joined my pal Antony Johnston to shoot the writerly breeze on his fabulous podcast, Writing & Breathing. And, more recently, I’ve also talked about how I use the app Scrivener on the Write Now with Scrivener podcast. I’m sure there are more examples out there—seriously, I’m pretty Googlable. (Is that a word?)
Got some other really pressing question? Drop me a line and I’ll either answer it via email or, if it comes up a lot, add something here.