Guest Post: Ian Thomas Healy on Broadening the Universe

The story of how Deep Six came to be isn’t nearly as interesting as how Just Cause originally came about, but it does have a certain cachet all its own. Deep Six was the second book I wrote for the Just Cause Universe. I had originally started right in on The Archmage after completing Just Cause, but after a year of submissions for Just Cause and over 140 rejections, I decided that maybe I needed to take the JCU in a different direction. I’d done NaNoWriMo twice, resulting in The Milkman, which you can buy, and Propane Jockeys, which you can’t. I felt like I was becoming a better writer, and so I decided to do my own version of NaNoWriMo, which I called the Hundred Day Novel. I felt that 50,000 words was too short for any serious novel, but 80,000 was reasonable. I decided a daily writing goal of 800 words and a hundred days would suffice for such a challenge. Over the summer of 2006, I did just that, and thus Deep Six was born.

Following the usual round of beta reads and revision, I sent around Deep Six, and this time I actually got a couple of nibbles. Most prevalent was one agent who requested a revise-and-resend. I did, and the agent came back with a new request: Remove the superpowers and make it a straight thriller. I politely declined and there I was, with no prospects yet again. I had written Jackrabbit in 2006 and was about to embark upon Pariah’s Moon in 2007 when I heard about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest for the first time. With nothing to lose, I took what I felt was my best completed project, Deep Six, and entered it.

It made the first round cuts and wound up as only one of four science fiction novels in the Top 100 Semifinalists. That was freakin’ exciting, let me tell you. Suddenly I felt like maybe I really did have something there, and I began to approach new ideas in the Just Cause Universe. My tales didn’t all have to be about the primary team of Just Cause. I’d created a lot of other organizations, some of which are mentioned in Just Cause itself like the New Guard, the Lucky Seven, and Divine Right. Why couldn’t some of them be featured in JCU novels? Or some of the other things I’d created like Deep Six or the Institute for Parahuman Medicine and Research in Paris? ABNA helped to rekindle my interest in the universe I’d created, and even though I didn’t make it to the finals, I can credit it with helping the development of the JCU.
Deep Six releases worldwide in print and ebook formats on November 29, 2013. Preorders are available at Local Hero Press.

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Ian Thomas Healy is a prolific writer who dabbles in many different speculative genres. He’s a nine-time participant and winner of National Novel Writing Month where he’s tackled such diverse subjects as sentient alien farts, competitive forklift racing, a religion-powered rabbit-themed superhero, cyberpunk mercenaries, cowboy elves, and an unlikely combination of vampires with minor league hockey. He is also the creator of the Writing Better Action Through Cinematic Techniques workshop, which helps writers to improve their action scenes.
Ian also created the longest-running superhero webcomic done in LEGO, The Adventures of the S-Team, which ran from 2006-2012.

When not writing, which is rare, he enjoys watching hockey, reading comic books (and serious books, too), and living in the great state of Colorado, which he shares with his wife, children, house-pets, and approximately five million other people.