As anyone who follows my social media posts knows, it has been quite some time since I've done any serious writing. It's been almost four months, to be exact. In the career of a writer, that's an eternity, and long enough to make one feel out of practice and out of touch with one's own work.
I find myself, however, to be in a position where I am compelled to write again.
The problem I've faced, which has prevented me from writing for a further three weeks, is that I have no idea where to start. This is the first time in my entire writing career when I've looked at a blank screen and had no idea what to fill it with.
There have been ideas. I've had it in my head for years now to write a horror novel, but I can't make myself do it yet. Most recently, it came to me to try to write a novel set in the future involving spousal abuse, putting a dark reality into a fantastic world and creating unusual. I cannot make myself write that, either.
However, today I was overcome by an idea that I had at one time thought was the most stupid idea I had ever heard. It occurred to me that Warren and Aaron's story may not be finished. So much is yet to be explained and so many stories left to be told that perhaps Antioch is only the beginning.
Yes, I am talking about another Antioch. The dreaded sequel. The whole dreaded series, perhaps. Book after book of Warren and Aaron's relationship troubles. Obviously, though, we won't be picking up after the events of Antioch, but rather before them. The question is, how far before them?
Now before you kill me with a spike, I want you to consider this: Just about every idea I've come up with to try to avoid doing this could have been summed up as “Antioch in X,” where X represents some variable. Antioch in space, Antioch with female main characters, Antioch as a horror novel, etc.
It all leads in the direction that points toward another Antioch.
I sent texts to a few people that I knew had read Antioch and became invested in the characters, reaching out to them about the possibility of a sequel. I expected to be destroyed, maimed, perhaps even shunned for considering the idea so early in my career.
This was not the case.
So many people have read this book that it blows my mind. Yes, I wrote it hoping to get readers, but the response has been enormous and ongoing. The Antioch site continues to get steady traffic with no intervention from me. The post of Antioch on Authonomy continues to generate positive reviews by other authors with no inquiry to read their own novels, which is rare on that site. With no help from me, Antioch remains above the 2,000 rank in a sea of almost 10,000 unpublished novels on that site, having made it to 55 when I was an active user.
I am not bragging. I am thanking you. Everyone who read and supported my novel, and those who continue to read and support it. I am thanking you from the lonely wastes of depressionland. Your comments and your feedback mean something. I get through the day sometimes by reading all the comments and looking at the stats and knowing that something that I wrote meant something to so many people. I know it, and it the most surreal thing on earth to think that if I had just kept pushing, I may have made it further than I did, but to know how far I came. I had no idea that something that I wrote would get such a response.
Aaron Dunn is not so much a character, but a mirror by which I see myself. Broken, tired, sometimes unwilling to go on, I see myself in him and it hurts and it's freedom and it's indescribable to know that in parts of the world as far removed from my tiny universe as Germany and Russia, he's a mirror for others as well.
So yes, I will be writing another Antioch. I won't go into a lot of detail, but you can rest assured that it will not be called Antioch 2 or Antioch 2: Insert Secondary Title. I'd like to think that I'm more clever than that.
So to everyone who reached out to me, wanting to know how Aaron met Warren, how he became such a fucked up human being and what makes him keep going, I want to thank you and tell you that you are not alone.
I, too, want to know. Because in knowing these things, I will know myself.
Expect this to come to fruition within the month. It will be live, just like the original. I expect you all to be there, because this is what is supposed to happen.
After this, who knows? Maybe I'll write my short stories or another novel, or maybe I'll stop writing altogether if I'm feeling dramatic.
But for now, the story will continue, in some form.
Aaron's and my own.