The Amber Rooms Free

It’s that time again when I go crazy and make a book free. For the next few days, it’s The Amber Rooms (UK Amazon link, US), the third adven­ture in the increas­ingly mys­ter­i­ous life of time trav­el­ler Saskia Brandt. In this book, she learns more about the nature of her time para­dox, and a great deal about Tsarist Russia and how to get along with revolutionaries.

Readers are saying:

Truly a mas­ter­ful read.

Beautiful sequel.

The plot is one of the most ima­gin­at­ive I have come across in quite a while. Time travel at its best!

The amber rooms cover

The Amber Rooms Out Now

In May, 2008, I cre­ated a Twitter account for the heroine of my sci­ence fic­tion nov­els, Saskia Brandt. Her first tweet:

Entering St Petersburg via train. There are men from the Third Section in the next car­riage and I think I might need to jump off.

Cut to yes­ter­day after­noon, when I uploaded the final ver­sion of The Amber Rooms to the Kindle store. I still can’t quite believe that the book is out in the world and no longer in my head. For the past five years (begin­ning drafts in 2007), I used most of my spare brain power—and some that wasn’t spare—to fig­ure out solu­tions to plot and char­ac­ter­isa­tion prob­lems. Now, I get my even­ings and week­ends back.

You can down­load The Amber Rooms from the UK or US Amazon stores. Until 25th December, books one and two are free.

Cut to 1907, night, and a train approach­ing St Petersburg. On that train, Saskia Brandt is run­ning for her life.

The Amber Rooms by Ian Hocking

The Next Big Thing

I’ve been meme-slapped by m’colleague Roger Morris, writer of the Porfiry Petrovich mys­ter­ies and other enter­tain­ments, includ­ing one of my favour­ite books of a few years back, Taking Comfort. I have to answer ten ques­tions in ten minutes about my cur­rent book. It’s very cur­rent indeed, as I’m plan­ning to release it on the 21st December.

1) What is the work­ing title of your next book?

The Amber Rooms. I went through a few dif­fer­ent titles before I arrived at that one. My favour­ite was the St Petersburg Paradox (which is a conun­drum drawn from prob­ab­il­ity theory).

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I hon­estly don’t remem­ber. I’ve always wanted to write a novel about Russia, and there are ele­ments of Russia scattered here and there through­out both Déjà Vu and Flashback. I have a feel­ing that Russia will fea­ture again in future nov­els, if they’re written.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It’s sci­ence fic­tion, prob­ably steam punk. Historical sci­ence fic­tion might be a bet­ter term. If I actu­ally had time to read any­thing these days, I’d have a sharper idea of the genre.

4) What act­ors would you choose to play the part of your char­ac­ters in a movie rendition?

Saskia Brandt could be played by Franka Potente, Alexandra Maria Lara, or Olivia Wilde. Kamo: Gael García Bernal. Stalin: Jake Gyllenhaal. Ego: Robert De Niro.

5) What is the one sen­tence syn­op­sis of your book?

Time trav­el­ler Saskia Brandt is trapped in Russia in 1908, try­ing to get home, but she’s stolen a great deal of money that belongs to the Bolshevik Party. They want it back.

6) Will your book be self-published or rep­res­en­ted by an agency?

It’s self-published.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About nine months, but that the was second or third attempt. I got about 10% into two sim­ilar nov­els before I real­ised they weren’t working.

8) What other books would you com­pare this story to within your genre?

I can only think of The Man in the High Castle.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The main char­ac­ter, Saskia.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

During the story, Saskia stays in a house that is mod­elled on the St Petersburg home of Prince Felix Yusupov, who con­spired to murder Rasputin.

I have to nom­in­ate three more people, so how’s about comedy-crime-scifi-horror-nonfic writer Aliya Whiteley, scifi nov­el­ist Stephen Sweeney, and tech­no­thriller (and now Kindle best-seller) Michael Stephen Fuchs. (Blast, it looks as though Aliya’s already been in the meme-wash. Check out her Next Big Thing here.)