Later today, I'll be committing the first words to virtual paper for my next novel, The Muffler's Misery. This will be the last novel in the initial Muffler's trilogy, although I may revisit the world at a later date. This concludes the overall arc of the three separate stories, tying up all the loose ends left dangling at the end of the last book.
In many ways, the arc across the novels concerns the journey of the titular entity sometimes known as The Muffler, even though they are far from a constant presence. Then again, if they're around, you know there are problems. The events so far have left The Muffler with an unhappy dilemma.
I can't go into too much detail without significant spoilers for the previous novels, but at the end of The Muffler's Mission, we had one troublemaker's location unknown, artefacts of the previous Cronos threat still spreading, political changes underway in Portsea, a character with matrimonial difficulties, and a strained relationship between Portsea and a nearby region. What could possibly go wrong?
As I've mentioned before, I've been writing several short stories set in the world of The Mufflers, culminating in a couple more in the lead up to starting this book. Some are already available in the free collection, Mutterings of Consequence, others will make their debut in my expanded collection, Substrate Constraints, later this year. Five of these are most relevant here.
These five either tell of events happening in the background of The Muffler's Mission or immediately after the novel concludes. They all focus on secondary characters rather than Rowan Webb or Tia Tobin, and I used these tales to explore their motivations for what is yet to come. I'm rather pleased with that decision. Not only did they have stories of their own to tell, but it also helped solidify their role in The Muffler's Misery. When the story starts, I know where they all are, what they're doing, and why.
Naturally, that will all become clear to the reader in the novel itself, but if you want the wider story of Dave Elkington, Morena Lessen, Winn Ridgard, George Drake, Lance Knight, Gwen Scott, Joshua Rodwell (who gets a speaking role for the first time!), and even the Oracle herself, then these will fill in the gaps. Latimer Lightfoot isn't directly involved in these stories, but one does lead directly to his role in The Muffler's Misery.
What else can safely I tell you? Well, the novel will be split into five parts:
No interludes this time, but there is a short prelude and an epilogue.
Part one, The King, will be from Tia Tobin's perspective and comprises four chapters:
The draft cover (above) has a magenta theme, making the trilogy a nice cyan, yellow(ish) and magenta set. Well, it keeps me happy
Right, I'd better get on with it. I'll be back at the end of part one.
P.S. Plans for the novel after this have snapped into focus too. I'm very excited about this one, but that's something for 2023. It definitely won't be part of the same universe, and currently has the somewhat grandiose and pretentious working title of Foundations of Dichotomy.