While we're going through the slow process of editing BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH, I've begun to make tentative inroads into the second novel of the trilogy. I have a title, but I'm not telling the world yet - I may well change my mind.
IF BRE deals with the colonisation and exploration of the solar system over the next 150 years - along with some snapshots of life on Earth, in a peaceful, prosperous post-climate change future - then the second book leaps ahead several hundred years, into the middle of a centuries-long interstellar expedition to an extrasolar planet, a little of which we already learn about in BRE. Not to give too much away, but it's a kind of generation ship story - except there are lots of generation ships, launched over many years, forming an entire spacefaring community stretched across many light years - a bit like the flotilla in CHASM CITY, scaled up a thousand times. The Akinya family, who feature in BRE, show up again in the new book, although there are not really any overlapping characters.
I've often been asked about my working methods, and I've usually answered that I don't do a great deal of pre-planning, preferring to hew out a first draft through blood, sweat and toil. This time, though, I'm taking exactly the opposite approach, blocking out the book on a chapter by chapter basis before I write a word of prose. It may all end in tears, but I'm interested in shaking up my processes every now and then, and I think this will be a good experiment to try. I've tried the elaborate planning thing twice before, with REDEMPTION ARK and THE PREFECT, but in both cases I don't think I got the plot sufficiently well nailed down before diving into the writing. This time I'm determined to resist the temptation. We'll see how it goes.