This year needs no general introduction. It won’t be soon forgotten, but the purpose of this post isn’t to belabour everyone with yet more tales of struggle. There’s perhaps something to be said for separating work from the plethora of difficulties that have otherwise beset the world in 2020, and that’s what I intend to do here.
At the close of last year I talked about the hope that I would be able to continue to diversify my writing output. I’m glad to say that over the past 12 months I’ve more or less managed that.
Novels remain my primary focus, and January 2020 saw me rounding off final edits on my first book for 18 months, written for tie-in fiction publishers Aconyte Books. Entitled The Doom of Fallowhearth, it went on sale in the US in October and in the UK a few weeks ago (and if you fancy a copy, a plethora of links to different shops and sites can be found here). Set in the high fantasy world of the Descent: Journeys in the Dark game, it represents my first non-Black Library novel, and one that I’m quite proud of.
The second half of the year was dedicated to a very different novel project, albeit still for Aconyte Books. I’m delighted to say that I have written a novel for Marvel’s iconic X-Men series, First Team, that’s due out in February or early March 2021. To say that this is a privilege is, of course, an understatement, and I’m hugely excited for the release dates, not to mention an up-and-coming cover reveal.
Besides prose fiction, 2020 saw me delve into my first graphic novels with not one, but two scripts for Osprey Publishing. The first, The Battle of Kursk: Hitler’s last gamble in the East, is a retelling of the desperate World War 2 clash between Nazi Germany and the USSR. Featuring both fictional characters and historical personages, it retells what went on to become one of the most brutal and infamous battles of, arguably, the world’s most brutal and infamous war.
The second graphic novel was a particular honour to be involved in. Andrew Wiest, a Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi, wrote a compelling nonfiction account of a single US Army company – Charlie Company of the 47th Battalion, 9th Infantry Brigade – during their service in the Vietnam War. The book, published in 2021, provides a startlingly intimate and often heart-wrenching look at the experiences of the young soldiers caught up in the deltas and jungles of southern Vietnam in the year 1967.
Osprey Publishing decided to commission a graphic novelisation of the original book, and I was lucky enough to be asked to write the script for it. For someone who’d never written in the comic book format before this year it felt like a mammoth undertaking (the final book promises to be just shy of 500 pages), but it was great to work with Professor Wiest and the Osprey team throughout. Hopefully I have done the excellent source material justice.
Speaking of Osprey and military writing, the non-fiction front has been busy this year as well. Over the course of 2020 I finished my first short military history work, British Light Infantry in the American Revolution, and then went and followed it up with a second on a closely related (albeit more general) topic, Battle Tactics of the American Revolution. Both are set for release in the first half of 2021.
I grew up reading Osprey books, and getting to write for Osprey’s Elite military history series has been a life goal. Even better, the books are accompanied by gorgeous artwork. The artist who worked with me on the light infantry volume, Stephen Walsh, was even kind enough to slip me into a depiction of the night action at Paoli in 1777.
Lastly, digital gaming. Fairly early in 2020 I was contacted by a friend at Gasket Games, who are currently in the process of developing the first ever Warhammer: Age of Sigmar digital game, Storm Ground. I was asked to help out on the writing front. Work continues apace, with much of it under wraps, so I’ll say only that it’s been great fun to be involved in, and that the Gasket team really are exemplary. Storm Ground is expected to be released before the midpoint of 2021.
In summary then, 2020 has included;
2 graphic novel scripts
2 short non-fiction books
1 digital game script
In all I’m happy with the year’s work output, and glad to be heading into 2021 with more projects lined up.
I’ll sign off for 2020 by thanking everyone who has supported me yet again this year, whether in a professional capacity, by buying books or just being awesome online. I quite literally couldn’t keep doing it without you.
May 2021 be everything you hope it to be.