A project that I’ve had in mind for quite some time now is finally nearing completion. Enter the Darkness: A Darkness After Series Prequel, is now complete and should be released in another week or so.
If you’ve read The Darkness After and any of the three sequels that follow it, you might wonder why I’ve written a prequel now when so much of the story has been told and the events are still unfolding. I’ll attempt to explain that here.
I wrote The Darkness After in 2013 on contract with Ulysses Press, the same publishing company that published The Pulse: A Novel of Surviving the Collapse of the Grid, as well as some of my nonfiction titles prior to that. The Pulse was so successful upon its release in June of 2012 that the publisher asked me to write The Darkness After as a parallel story set in the same world, but with younger characters and targeted at the Young Adult audience. Both books turned out to be popular, and my readers were soon asking if there would be sequels.
I originally envisioned expanding those stories into trilogies at least, but publishers often have differing ideas, and in this case they were pushing me in the direction of yet another unrelated standalone novel instead of the sequels. We did negotiate a contract for Refuge, which became Book II of The Pulse Series, but I wanted to do a Darkness After sequel too, because I knew there was much more to tell of the story of Mitch and April. That marked a turning point in my writing career and convinced me that the time was right to switch to independent publishing. I asked for the rights to continue publishing books in each series, and thankfully, those rights were granted in 2015 and at this time there are currently four books in each series and more to come. The publisher still owns the rights to The Darkness After, which is now Book I of that series, so making changes, additions, or offering price promotions are not options I currently have.
So, one reason I’ve written this 32,000-word prequel novella, Enter the Darkness—is to provide another entry point into the series for new readers and to add more backstory for those of you who have read all the other books already. Some of the scenes you will find in Enter the Darkness were cut from the first-draft manuscript of The Darkness After because of length restraints. In the revision process at the time, I decided to jump right in with the first action scene where Mitch Henley meets April Gibbs on the road, rather than tell the story beginning with the occurrence of the EMP event.
This prequel goes back and fills in the gap, beginning with Mitch getting stuck on a busy New Orleans street when his dad’s new pickup suddenly goes dead at a red light. It also tells the story of the worst day in April Gibbs’ life—the morning she wakes up to learn that her child is stranded more than a hundred miles away from home. What she decides to do at that point leads to her fortuitous meeting with Mitch, who happens to have the means and ability to help her out of a dire predicament. Enter the Darkness also gives you a glimpse of how those first days play out for April’s boyfriend, David Greene, and Mitch’s little sister, Lisa Henley.
The Darkness After Series can certainly be read without this prequel, but those of you who have read the other books might enjoy learning a little more about the main characters and who they were before their lives changed forever with the collapse of the grid. For those readers who have not read any of the other books in the series, Enter the Darkness is probably the best place to start to get the full story from the beginning.
Until now, all of my new releases have been available for preorder for at least a couple of months prior to release. Enter the Darkness will be released for publication without a preorder period, however, and as I mentioned at the top of this post, it is complete and I’m only waiting for final proofreading before it is ready to release. I will send out an announcement to my newsletter subscribers in a few days and post an update here when the Kindle and paperback editions are available to purchase.