So, in 2011, I had an idea. It probably resulted from a fever dream about the TV series Andromeda (a show I only partly remember anymore). That idea was for a sentient ship AI who, unlike Rommie, was not helpful in the slightest. An AI that was just as selfish and easily influenced as a human… one that could love, hate, and experience every emotion in between. One that didn’t know how to handle those emotions in the only way given to her--logically--and thus did things in a way that didn’t always take those emotions into account.
From there, I cut things down and made her a little less crazy. If I hadn’t the crew wouldn’t have survived past chapter 3. But I gave the ship someone to love. Something to fear. And a goal that was neither logical or practical… but was entirely influenced by that love and fear.
With the ship’s fears, a universe came into being that supported her worries. It is a universe much darker than I’d ever explored before. And I populated it with very bad people. With broken people. With people whose situation was so bleak, the only reason they continued on was the innate human desire to persevere.
I gave the one person the ship loved a reason to fear her, a reason to love her back, a reason to want to protect her AI regardless of the fact that she’d come to deserve my affectionate nickname of “murder baby.”
But this still wasn’t enough. I gave the ship a complication. A time gap. I gave her a reason to betray the one person in the galaxy and a reason to betray a whole galaxy.
And then, I gave the ship a rescuer. Sort of. I placed a woman from her captain’s past smack dab in the middle of the ship’s path. Gave the ship a reason to hate her and her crew. Gave this ship a reason to need her.
And finally, I gave the ship a metaphorical loaded gun, and let her take pot shots at whoever she liked.
Five years, countless drafts, at least three edits that completely rewrote the book… and here we are.
Oath Breaker comes out on the 30th, but you can preorder my murder baby now.