Thursday, November 10, 2011

Battle Dancer Debuts Early December

Sometimes the world you have to save isn’t yours. Sometimes your greatest enemy isn’t the one in your sights.

The line between Savior and Destroyer becomes blurred as Mikial fights to free the world of Me’Auk from human occupation. On guard against a treacherous alliance with Earth, Mikial is blind to the danger from those she trusts most. They see the monster rising inside her, and will stop at nothing to prevent the return to a darker age when Throne Empresses ruled with an iron hand. Mikial faces off with the deadliest foe she has ever met - the tyrant within.

Battle Dancer completes the story of Mikial Haran, bringing with it all the traditions and strife of an alien people facing the challenges of first contact and technological acceleration.

This was certainly the most difficult of the "Dancer" series to write. First, it was an acknowledgement that a character and world I had come to love was finally at an end. Second, it was putting my main character Mikial through some wrenching changes that made her less than likable at times. Power gets to everyone, eventually. The key point for me is what happens when they finally have to face themselves. There is a choice to be made. In Battle Dancer, I bring Mikial to that moment, and by then she's been very hurtful to everyone around her. The conqueror everyone needs, but the last thing she ever wanted to be. You can't be "nice" as a war leader, but the danger is ever present that you can lose yourself in the process. Savior or Destroyer.

When wrapping up a series, it is all about closure. Some story arcs are simple - they start and end in the same novel. Others actually began in the first novel and only now find a completion. I never took my eye off the thing that mattered most - the person and the relationships between them and those who love them. I want my readers who have read through the entire series so far to come away feeling satisfied. I want them to see old friends as well as new. To say to themselves "So that's what happened to such-and-such". For those who read my spin-off - Waiting Weapon, you'll get to see Rick and Jamie strutting their stuff as well.

I was also able to get back at what I love doing most - fast action combat that is both visceral and as violently real as it gets. I put the "battle" into Battle Dancer both in space, in the air, and on the ground. Contrary to what the cover might suggest, we're talking military SF at its best - battle armor, heavy weapons, missiles, and remotes. Lots of remotes. Yes, characters will die in this story. War doesn't discriminate, and death can come lightning fast. Mikial is not without her own brutality, either. A character introduced in Defiant Dancer learns this the hard way.

Do you have to read the previous books in order to enjoy this one? No. I make sure every book stands by itself as much as possible. That said, you certainly will enjoy things a lot better if you did start with Blade Dancer and move up the line from there through Rogue Dancer and finally Defiant Dancer. If you were planning to read Waiting Weapon, you might want to do so ahead of Rogue Dancer - more fun that way (but again, not required at all).

Will there be any other books written in the Dancer universe? I really can't say, other than to point out that there are more stories in my head - often played out in Mikial's future and not necessarily her story. For now, I recognize the need as a writer to grow. Any farmer will tell you to rotate your crops to keep things fresh, and for me this means trying out another genre and a whole new set of characters and circumstances. Someday I may get back to Mikial's world, but the series will do just fine even if I don't.

That's how I prefer to leave things.

Battle Dancer will be out around the first Monday in December from Burst Books

You can read the first chapter now by going to my website.



TK Toppin said...

Congrats to you, and I know what it's like to finally "put to rest" a story that started out too big to contain in one telling. I look forward to seeing Mikial and the others again. It will be bittersweet, I guess, as is when all stories come to an end.

January Bain said...

Congratulations, Kerry! I too structured the books that are part of my Forever Series to work as stand alone.
What is the next genre? Do you know yet?
I just finished a paranormal series for now and am jumping head first into science fiction, specifically time travel.

KMTolan said...


Next up is a fantasy featuring none of the usual tropes: no wizards, para-anything, vampires, fae, elves... I think you get the picture (grin). I think it's high time we get away from the same tired themes.