Later this week I'll be unveiling the launch of Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan, the first of a trilogy of books I originally wrote in the fall of 2011.
Now, I know that I've been going on about Seven Thunders and the significance of the whole Space Corps saga, but in many ways I would never have finally written Seven Thunders if I hadn't written about Yoshimi.
She's the point where I finally realized that every book I've written has been a quest story. From Cloak of Shrouded Men to the two other manuscripts I have floating around, there's always been a goal the characters want to attain by the end of the story, something they hope to have achieved. Yoshimi was my way of distilling everything I'd learned into the simplest, most accessible narrative possible. As I've enjoyed saying, her story is Harry Potter crossed with Kill Bill, or maybe just what I would've done with Peter Parker if he hadn't been defined by being bitten by a radioactive spider.
Simply put, Yoshimi is an orphan, who learns that despite what she's grown up believing about herself that there is far more to her story than what the circumstances of her life have so far suggested. She learns that her parents didn't die in a car accident but were murdered.
Now, what Yoshimi actually is can sometimes be a little tricky to explain. She's a ninja warrior, I guess you could say, but she's not Bruce Lee with pigtails. She's just a fifteen year old girl who has to figure out how to navigate her new life, which is riddled with problems starting with a teenage boy named Bill (and yeah, you know exactly where the name came from), who just so happens to run the Shadow Clan, which was inspired by the man who murdered Yoshimi's parents.
Yoshimi and Bill fall in love, by the way.
And of course the story continues from there, into three additional volumes. All told the story is long enough for one average-length book, but I've split it up into three just so the beats can be better appreciated. The further she progresses the more mature she and the story becomes, and I move away from the young adult vibe to the more literary style I'm more accustomed to writing.
Yet Yoshimi's story ends up being more expansive than I originally thought. It develops its own mythology, which in writing the thing out helped me learn what it would mean to realize Seven Thunders. I'd done this before. Cloak of Shrouded Men was written over the course of three years, and there's plenty of mythology there, too, but in three sometimes very different volumes. The other manuscripts I wrote, especially Modern Ark, I juggled a lot of mythology in order to tell a story that ended up being very complicated, which was why I tried to be more simple in Minor Contracts. Yet it's with Yoshimi that I learned that complicated and simple don't have to be mutually exclusive. So that's what made Seven Thunders possible, and why I need to have Yoshimi out in the world before I can release Seven Thunders.
And by the way, there's a character named Yoshimi in Seven Thunders, who's connected to a whole legacy of her own in the Space Corps saga. It may be one indication that wherever Yoshimi's story ends in this trilogy, it could go many other places still, if readers are interested. If they aren't, then I have this one story, and I know exactly what it means.
It's a quest, and it led me to where I needed to go.