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Return to the New World

AN-NewWorldFlight1Mountains, foothills, and wide open prairies –– by now, readers of His Majesty’s New World and Champions are familiar with the landscape of the planet that Britain and the United States began colonizing in 1881. Whether it be the Royal Newfoundland Regiment marching into the unknown in 1919, Alex and Stephanie fighting Scourge in 1942, or the veterans of Sergeant Barnes’ outfit seeking a fresh start in 1896, the new world has been an essential part of every story I’ve told since Defense Command wrapped up in 2012.

And now, at last, I’m moving back there. Sort of.

You already know the most tired cliche about writing: you must write what you know. This gets over-used and misconstrued, but there’s definite value to including as much reality as possible in what you write. However, there’s a more important philosophy that I subscribe to: write what you long for.

I eternally want to be in Newfoundland, but the reality is that I can’t be right now. The opportunities to do what I’m good at full-time don’t quite exist (yet) in wonderful places like Woody Point; until they do, I can live vicariously through Alex and Stephanie, who spend a great deal of time on the island (whether they like it or not). The same can be said of the new world. I lived for three-and-a-half years in Lethbridge, in southern Alberta, and though at the time I may have been too young to realize what was happening, Alberta’s big skies and big mountains were being etched into my subconscious.

Nothing can supplant a Newfoundlander’s love of home, but when it came to creating a new world for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment to march across, there was no other place I wanted to go back to. If Waller’s b’ys couldn’t have the mighty Atlantic, they could enjoy the majestic mountains and endless prairies. And because they could enjoy them, I could too.

AN-Vulcan

After living with the new world in my head for seven years, I’m delighted now to have the opportunity to return to the province that inspired it –– in this case, to the capital city of Edmonton. North America’s northernmost city with a population over 1 million will be my new home, and Iceberg’s new home. Indeed, all three of us partners are packing up and making this move –– by some welcome machination of fate, we’ve been presented with opportunities in Edmonton that we can’t ignore. As it has for countless families over the past few centuries, opportunity is taking us west. We’re very excited.

Of course, the logistical challenges of such a move are considerable. For those unfamiliar with Canada, the driving distance to Edmonton from our current base in Waterloo is some 3,500 kilometers –– a little shorter than the distance between New York and Los Angeles, but considerably longer than the distance between Paris and Moscow. Unfortunately, we don’t have a real skycruiser to carry us there in 30 minutes (though if anybody has one we can borrow, we’ll certainly take it). We therefore have to do it the old-fashioned way, and though we’ve moved across Canada twice before, knowing what we’re in for doesn’t reduce the time required to wrap up affairs in Ontario. We’ve had to push back some timetables.

Owing to the way Outports ended, we knew we had to keep Progeny on schedule –– that’s why it released yesterday, after some editing tactics that I suspect Jacqui will write a note about (when time permits). However, we’ve had to delay the launch of our new HMNW project (featuring images from South Africa, courtesy of the Dundee Diehards) until January, and we’ll be announcing a new schedule for the 2015 Champions releases. All of that will come soon, but in the interim we’ll continue to be relatively quiet as we pack up and hit the road.

Stay tuned for updates… and in the meantime, have a look at our real new world. It won’t be hard to see why I long for it: