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Learn how the author came up with the concept and title as well as the motivation behind why he wrote the story and what influenced him.

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While writing Beyond Cloud Nine, I always had the sequel, Beyond the Horizon, in mind, although many of the specific events of book two didn't manifest themselves until the late outlining and writing stages.

The second draft (first full manuscript) of BC9 began with a prologue that I scrapped on the advice of another published author. The prologue was set in the future after the events of all four books and portrayed Maya visiting Brooke in the hospital. While lying on her deathbed, Brooke recounted the events of BC9 that Maya and the rest of the solar system had remained ignorant of for decades. I chose to scrap the prologue and alter the events of the tetralogy such that Brooke's fate now remains a mystery even to me.

Earlier drafts of BC9 also featured historical quotes at the beginning of the chapters. Many of the quotes were of Maya looking back on the past in hindsight. Not only did the editor of BC9 consider the quotes an unnecessary author indulgence that many readers would skip right over, but the info revealed in the quotes committed me to plotlines I hadn't fully worked out. Thus, I ditched the quotes.

Prior to detailed brainstorming and outlining of BTH, I only knew a few things. I knew I wanted a generational book series, so I chose to have Maya grow up and become the main protagonist. I also wanted Maya to face her father (an obviously absent character from book one). While somewhat predictable, I wanted her to save the day at the end (if that's a mild spoiler for you, you haven't read or watched much fiction) and really earn it. Let it be stated for the record that I had the idea of her rising up the ranks to captain long before the release of the 2009 Star Trek film (in which I don't believe Starfleet would promot Kirk all the way to captain right out of the acadamy despite his saving of the Earth).

Speaking of Star Trek, one glaring omission from that franchise for me was how Earth achieved unity and banished poverty and crime. Before warp drive, the Earth is in shambles. Then suddenly after learning aliens exist and FTL travel is possible, all hate, religion, and greed goes out the window and Earth becomes a utopian paradise. While it's a wonderful ideal, I never bought it. In BTH, I portray human society striving for the same ideal. Having Brooke hang back in the solar system while Maya goes off on the exploratory mission is my way of trying to show the background that Star Trek glosses over. How does human society achieve a utopia? I assert that it only comes through surreptitious means and after much more tragedy and bloodshed than the human race has yet endured in real life.


The title of Beyond the Horzion is more straightforward and lacks the multi-layered irony of BC9. Traveling beyond the horizon is a fairly simple metaphor for traveling into the unexplored territory of, say, another star system. While writing BC9, I knew I wanted to name my starship after the New Horizons probe NASA launched in 2007. I couldn't have predicted back then that I'd be in position to publish BTH not long after the probe arrived at Pluto. Thus, BTH was the perfect double-whammy.

Motivation and Influences

I love space opera. What else is there to say? See the Motivation and Influences sections on the background page of beyondcloudnine.com for details.