Earth Haven Book 3: The Reckoning

The Reckoning (Earth Haven: Book 3)
The Reckoning (Earth Haven: Book 3)

The final instalment of the Earth Haven trilogy is due to be published on 22nd December. Here’s the description:

Unnatural calm prevails. Trepidation builds. Silently, a storm gathers.

Survivors from mainland Europe and North America converge on Britain. Weary, confused, all come seeking answers; some are spoiling for a fight.

What began with the Cleansing and was hastened by the Beacon nears fruition. But time is running out, and human numbers are too few to win the last battle alone. Unless help can be found from the unlikeliest of allies, failure is assured.

Humankind faces its ultimate test. The Reckoning is upon us.

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Writing a Trilogy

In May 2013, I sat at the computer and wrote the description of the symptoms of a deadly virus. It was a scene from an apocalyptic story I’d had kicking around in my head for years and transferring it to paper (at least, to a hard drive) opened the floodgates. Nine feverish weeks later, I had written the first draft of a 90,000-word novel.

The story was nowhere near finished. It would need at least another novel to complete, probably two. Although I would have finished the story come what may – once a tale is in my mind, the only way to dislodge it is to write it – here’s one advantage of a trilogy from the writer’s point of view: I could see how well the first was received before committing to the second.

Earth Haven Book 1: The Cleansing was published in December 2013. I sat back and waited with bated breath for the first reviews to come in. Thankfully, they were positive and so I sat down to write the second book.

Before writing The Cleansing, I had completed two novels, both of which are standalones. (One has been published: The Village of Lost Souls. The second – provisionally titled Another Fine Mess – has been accepted for publication.) This would be the first time I had attempted to write a sequel.

Here’s the thing with writing a sequel: the writer owes it to the story, to himself (or herself) and, most of all, to the readers who enjoyed the first book to make the second as good as or better than the first. He’s also not working with a blank canvas; at least, that’s how I felt. Although I introduced new characters into the second book, I was still working with those who had appeared in the first and they needed to continue being the characters the readers of the first had come to know, while continuing their arcs and developing as good characters must.

While I worked on the sequel, reviews for The Cleansing continued to come in. Still mainly positive – phew! – but increasing the pressure for the second novel to build upon those good vibes.

Earth Haven Book 2: The Beacon was released in January 2015. This time, the wait for early reviews was more nail-bitingly angst-filled. Unlike with the first book, readers would be parting with their hard-earned cash this time around in reasonable expectation of reading a story that matched or improved upon the standard of The Cleansing.

I had already begun work on the final instalment in the trilogy when The Beacon was published, but it had been slow going. I found it difficult to build momentum without knowing how the second book would be received. (Also, life or, more accurately, death – of a good friend – interrupted progress.)

Then reviews of The Beacon started coming in; another huge sigh of relief when they were, in the main, positive. Now I could press on full steam ahead with the final instalment.

This proved to be the most difficult one to write. Not only did I need to make this one as good as or better than the first two, I also needed to ensure I tied up all loose ends. With the first two books totalling around two hundred thousand words, there were a lot of loose ends. And the biggest pressure of all? Ending it in a way with which readers will hopefully be satisfied and that fits the overall tone of the story.

There are writers out there who pen many series and serials. They must all be familiar with these issues, but this was the first time I had experienced them. Whether I managed to overcome them, well, that remains to be seen. I have sent the completed and edited manuscript of Earth Haven Book 3: The Reckoning to my publishers and await hearing whether it will be accepted for publication.

If it is, by the time the first reviews come in, I shall have no nails left. In the meantime, I’m starting work on a standalone.

Earth Haven Book 2 : The Beacon

The sequel to ‘The Cleansing’ was published on 9th January 2015. So far, the reaction has been extremely positive – always a great relief.

I’m working on the final instalment in the Earth Haven series, provisionally called ‘The Reckoning’. I’m over halfway and heading for the finish.

Since I don’t work from a detailed outline (I’m what’s charmingly referred to sometimes as a ‘panster’), I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to work out for the survivors of the human race. I’m looking forward to finding out as much as my readers are. C’mon Tom and Ceri – I’m rooting for you guys!


Sam Kates smaller size

As you’ve probably gathered since you’ve found your way to my website, my name is Sam Kates. The photo above of a middle-aged bloke with a hair shortage: that’s me.

I live in Wales, a small constituent country of Great Britain and the U.K. Like many of my fellow countrymen, I possess a fondness for rugby union and a good pint of beer. Usually the two go hand in hand.

You’ve probably also gathered that I’m an author of fiction. At the time of writing (December 2014), I have three published books available on most online retailers in e-book and paperback formats. Two more books are due to be published shortly.

In March 2013, I teamed up with the good folk at Smithcraft Press. The opening book in the Earth Haven series, The Cleansing, was, in December 2013, the first book to be published as a result of that partnership. The second book, The Beacon, is due to be published in early January.

Earth Haven is a long (hence the breakdown into three books) apocalyptic tale of the eradication of most of the world’s population and the handful of survivors’ struggle against another deadly threat – as if they haven’t been through enough already, bless them.

I am working on the third and final book in the Earth Haven series. Provisionally titled The Reckoning, it will bring the series to a definitive conclusion.

In May 2014, Smithcraft Press published two more of my books. Pond Life is a collection of ten short stories, tending towards the darker side of life, science-fiction and fantasy. The Village of Lost Souls is a short novel about love and loss and the supernatural.

A fourth novel, Another Fine Mess, has also been accepted for publication and a date is awaited; the wheels of publishing do not turn rapidly. This story does not involve the supernatural or the fantastic or the scientifically fictional. It is a comical tale of the series of misfortunes that befall a disgruntled young man and his attempt at escaping the rat race for something that he hopes can only be better, a sort of paradise on Earth. The title is a nod to two of my favourite comedians, but also has relevance in the context of the novel. You’ll have to read it when it comes out to find out why…

Been nice meeting you. Please do drop by occasionally. Your company alone is enough, but if you can bring good beer, it’s all to the good. Cheers!