Greetings from Krasnoyarsk
And so it’s finally done, and delivered to my Patrons – Guillotine Wind, the first Pandora story, was one of the hardest nuts to crack in my multifarious writing career. But it also features – if I do say so myself – some of my best writing.
And it’s a first in a series!
And it will go on to be part of the Seven Lives Project, and so it will benefit a bunch of stray cats. The cats will dismiss the whole thing like something due to them by divine right, but who knows, some people might like the stories.
While I had been toying with the idea of writing a few prequel stories to The Ministry of Thunder, Guillotine Wind came together through what I usually call fuzzy serendipity – some unlikely facts about the Russian Revolution and Italy’s involvement thereof, a cursory re-read of Jules Verne’s Michel Strogoff, and a photo…
Nice place, uh?
So I got writing.
The planned story was a mean, lean 8000-words, but then things got out of hand – as they usually do when Helena Saratova (or rather, Pandora Marcikowska) is involved – and the finished work turned out to be a 13.000 words novella, with an extra 2000 words of historical notes and assorted stuff. Stuff like…
The Forced March tablets that Pandora, Mariya and Varvara use during the emergency with the wounded were a standard supply from the British Army.
“Containing the combined active principles of Kola Nut and Coca leaves. Allays hunger and prolongs the powers of endurance. DIRECTION – one to be dissolved in the mouth every hour when undergoing continued mental strain or physical exertion.”
So yes, cocaine & caffeine tablets, Coca-Cola in pills, but a lot more addictive, perfect to keep fatigue at bay and improve night vision. The effects of the tablets explain, probably, Mariya rambling and being vaguely paranoid in chapter 7.
But it’s OK, really.
No, not the cocaine tablets – the fact that the story expanded and went in directions I had not planned – this is after all the good thing of working on a project of mine, with my deadlines and no specific requirements but writing the best story possible.
And I did it.
And I think I’m going to do it again, because a lot of Central Asia lies beyond Krasnoyarsk, and Pandora has still a long way to go.