Rise of the Gomeral
One of the main threads of this story, the threat of a new Pasha following the re-emergence of the Tivinel and Barungi, was originally intended as part of Plight of the Tivinel, but it became clear as the final chapters unfolded that I couldn't do this justice in the way that story was playing out. I also realised that Pedro's decision to stay on ancient Huntress with Elsa provided a good opportunity to flesh out that world's Gomeral uprising as briefly described on page 349 of The Mind of the Dolphins, with those two characters playing an important role in kindling and directing those fires. Both these factors led to what was an easy decision at the time, namely to divide the story into two instalments, Plight of the Tivinel as it was ultimately presented and a second volume to be called Rise of the Gomeral, this being none too subtly hinted at by Hamati's final words in the former's epilogue.
I began work on Rise as soon as I'd submitted Plight's manuscript to the publisher, with the first chapter picking up a few months on with Joel and Loraine enrolling at Brisbane University, Joel having decided to study environmental science while Loraine's chosen field is biochemistry. They would soon discover that, during Joel's death and rebirth on ancient Huntress, some genetic changes had occurred, including a hidden message leading them on a search for a potential new Pasha.
I also wanted to further explore the relationship between David and Cam for, as hinted at in the final chapters of Plight, this has grown into something beyond friendship but is perhaps not what you might think. More on this in my full commentary.
I made good headway, reaching the third chapter before putting it aside when I received the proofs of Plight of the Tivinel. With the revision and final corrections, followed by planning for the book launch, inspiration for Rise of the Gomeral stalled and it was to be another eighteen months before I began to see enough of a way forward to resume my writing.
Part Two of the novel returns to Pedro and Elsa on ancient Huntress and, in the course of completing Part One, my thoughts for at least the opening of this part had largely coalesced. Beyond the first couple of chapters, though, it began to diverge from my original plan, leading to what was at the time a rather surprising conclusion for the part and setting the stage for an interesting beginning to Part Four.
In between those was Part Three and it was here I became mired once more in indecisiveness, for although I had a rough idea of where I wanted everyone to be at the end of the part, getting there remained elusive. In the end I just forced myself to write to see where it went and, as is usually the case, new ideas began opening up with more surprising plot twists.
Once I could see what was likely to happen in Part Four, it also became increasingly clear that this would be the final book in the Barefoot Times series, with many of the outstanding threads reaching their logical conclusion. With Billy, Julia and Peter now nearing a hundred years of age, and Jason and Jenny getting well into their seventies, extending the story much further without having to kill at least some of them off would have proven difficult. For me, nearly two decades have passed since I began my first tentative steps into the Barefoot Times universe and it really is time now to move on.
If you've finished the book and would like to know more of my thoughts behind the story, my full commentary is here.