The first novel in this series is complete and is seeking a publisher. I have written the first part of the second book, as well as over half a million words of outline for several books beyond that.
All book information here is copyright to Kimberly Chapman, 2004-2006.
To avoid spoilers, I won't post anything about a sequel until the book before it has been released.
The Colony exists several hundred years in the future on a distant planet known only as AWPIHX-4-9-00014, its scientific designation. The planet and the Colony itself have no other name because the citizenry never got around to giving them names that everyone would be happy with.
The Colony is, in effect, a lone nation on that distant planet, made up of five large cities, clumped suburbs around those cities, and a few rural towns. Where we'd use phrases such as "national" or "federal" in our time, they say "colonial".
The Founders were idealists from Earth who became fed up with having their lives run by massive corporations that had become indistinguishable from governments. Other unpleasant aspects of living on Earth - such as overpopulation, pollution, diminished resources, and lack of personal privacy and freedoms - inspired the Founders to look for another place to live, far enough away from Earth to not interest the corporations.
The leading Founder, Cameron MacDonaugh, was a charismatic clergyman from western Canada. His interfaith alliance preached tolerance, truth, love, and respect for individual rights. MacDonaugh quickly gathered a global following, and partnered with the other three Founders - Ye Lok, a brilliant Chinese scientist, Maya Paloni, a philanthropic doctor from Greece, and her South African husband Abram Paloni, a wealthy businessman who converted to MacDonaughism and abandoned his corporate life - to form a movement dedicated to raising the funds to leave Earth behind forever.
The idea was to start a society based on truth, freedom, and love. It would operate on a communal model with a constitution designed to protect personal liberties and privacy. Religion was declared an entirely personal affair and banned from government. In fact, it quickly became taboo in this society to speak of religion at all outside of the home or the faith centres - small, social institutions that act somewhere between houses of worship and community outreach centres. Colonial culture developed with the attitude of "do whatever you like as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else."
The Founders hoped that, without a monetary system, the Colony would flourish as a communal utopia. For the first generation, their hopes held true. After all, each of the eight thousand original colonists had to give up their social status and almost everything they'd owned back on Earth in order to come along, so only those dedicated to the Founders' ideals were willing to make such a sacrifice.
Unfortunately, future generations did not hold so fast to those ideals. Greed and all that goes with it - corruption, crime, wealth, and poverty - have crept into the Colony. A monetary system of electronic credits was introduced during the eighth generation. It was equitable at first, but it wasn't long before a class structure came about, rocketing some citizens to wealth and power and leaving others on the streets.
By the fourteenth generation, in the late 300s in Colonial Years, the Founders' other ideals are showing cracks as well. That is where the Chronicles begin.
In the first book of the series, readers are introduced to the core characters - a group of Colonial law enforcement agents - and the Colony in general. These characters are charged with bringing down the recently-formed organized crime groups that threaten the entire Colony.
The characters are the most important element of the story. The crime drama and the politics of the world are told through their points of view. It is their individual lives and bonds of friendship that direct the flow of the tale. The characters must try to focus on the job at hand, but begin to find themselves worrying that the ideals of the Founders are being sacrificed to greed and corruption.
This is a tentative, unedited suggestion for the back cover text for the first book in the series:
Nick Fergessen, Senior Agent in charge of the Department of Organized Crime at the Colonial Law Enforcement Bureau, considers himself to be a serious man dedicated to his work. Unfortunately, despite having assembled a talented team of fellow agents to halt the rise of new groups that threaten the Colony, it is becoming clear to Nick that the department exists more for political show than real investigation. Under-financed, under-equipped, and thwarted at every turn, he and his staff are growing bitter.
When Nick's demands for a computer specialist are finally met, his frustration only increases. Hannah Gering, fresh out of the Academy, is so tiny that she couldn't pass all of the physical requirements for proper graduation, nor is she licensed to carry a gun. Nick is told she was pushed ahead because she is some kind of genius, but all he can see is another burden to drag his department down. Worse, she's eager, sweet, and emotionally expressive - all things that conflict with his cold demeanour.
But soon Nick is forced to realize that Hannah's special talents are exactly what they need to finally make real progress in fighting the three main organized crime groups: the wealthy and powerful Gautier family, the disturbingly slick Meios Media Group, and the Minh brothers, notorious gadgeteers. He also learns that Hannah's effervescence conceals a dangerous secret from her past. As he passes through threat and peril with her, he discovers that there's more capacity inside of him for love and vulnerability than he ever could have imagined...
Nick (short for Nicholas) is the lead character of the Chronicles. Book One is told largely through his point of view, and in that book, it's only Nick's inner thoughts that are heard by the reader directly.
Nick is smarter than he knows, and much more emotionally complex than he'd ever admit. He enjoys kidding around with his staff, but is easily made cranky by work-related frustrations. His main hobby is gourmet cooking, at which he is exceptionally talented. At the beginning of Book One, he is separated from his wife but sees his two beloved daughters every Saturday.
His piercing stare, coupled with his uncanny ability to detect lies and discern real motivations based on body language, make him a formidable threat to anyone he interrogates. Even his friends and family know better than to try to slip anything by him.
While writing these books, I have a very firm picture in my head of exactly what Nick looks and sounds like. I know his mannerisms - from his stare to his one-eyebrow-raised questioning looks, from his frustrated sighs and grunts to his rare laughter - with such detail that I often have to remind myself that he is a character, and not real. He even has his own blog.
This familiarity is in part due to the fact that I have a definite model for the character in actor Anthony LaPaglia. I've been closely studying Mr. LaPaglia's acting throughout the creation of Nick Fergessen. Upon successful publication of Book One, I fully intend to turn it into a screenplay and do anything I can to bring this story to the screen with Mr. LaPaglia in this role that was written exclusively for him. Yes, I know it's an unlikely prospect but I dream big!
The compilation graphic below shows what Nick looks like, except that suits are anachronistic in the Colony. Nick typically wears plain black shirts or sweaters and black trousers at work. At home on the weekends, Nick wears old t-shirts with either shorts or rough-worn jeans, depending on the temperature and whether or not he expects to be seen in public.
For more information and photos of Anthony LaPaglia, please see my Anthony LaPaglia fan pages.
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Copyright © 2004 Kimberly Chapman. All rights reserved.