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.)