In some ways, Friction is the bane of my existence. I began the work in July of 2014, immediately after I had undergone surgery to replace the cornea in my left eye. As I mentioned in the notes for Symbiosis, my eyesight was failing, and I needed this surgery to regain some of my vision.
Here's the fun thing about failing vision: if you've ever worn glasses, then you'll know the dizziness and disorientation that comes with changing prescriptions. Now, imagine living with that all the time. I was battling brain fog when I wrote Symbiosis, but it was much, much worse when I sat down to write Friction.
So, you might be wondering “Well, why wouldn't you just wait until you had recovered before writing this book?” Well, there are several reasons.
1) Replacing your cornea is a bit of a crapshoot; there was no way to know how much of my vision would be restored or how long it would take to heal.
2) Writing Symbiosis pulled me out of a depression. I didn't want to sink back into it; so I opted to keep writing everyday.
3) I just love these characters.
So, I wrote, and it was incredibly difficult. I reworked scenes many times.
And, of course, there are issues that holdover from the last book. As I mentioned in the notes for Symbiosis, I separated Jack and Anna because I wasn't ready for them to begin a romantic relationship. However, this meant that Anna was removed from most of the action in the main plot line. In some ways, this was an advantage. Jack was a new Justice Keeper, and this was the first chance we got to see him work without a net. It also gave me lots of opportunity to work with Harry.
The downside, however, was the need to invent a B-plot to keep Anna in the story. She was always meant to be a central character; so just forgetting about her for one book would be sloppy, in my opinion. When you're a discovery writer, your motto is “roll with it.” Turn a disadvantage into an advantage.
So, Anna's B-plot gave us a chance to see one of the other human worlds and to contrast Leyrian culture with Earth culture. Anna is the kind of character who steals almost every scene she's in; so, having her in the background gave me plenty of opportunity to focus on Jack, Harry and Jena.
Jena especially needed lots of development. You may notice her last name. “Morane.” It's a nod to my favourite character from the Wheel of Time, Moiraine Damodred. But don't let the name fool you; Jena and Moiraine are worlds apart; the only character trait they share is that they are both mentors to the other protagonists in their respective series.
This is also the book that introduces one of the biggest mysteries in the first half of the series: the hooded woman, Isara. I bet some of you are just itching for me to tell you who Isara really is. Sorry, that's a “Read and Find Out.” (RAFO, for short). But keep your eyes peeled. Books two through five are littered with clues as to Isara's identity.