Old European narrow empty street of a medieval town on a foggy evening.

A Long Strange Ride from the Flipside

Almost all stories worth telling have long journeys. While there are exceptions, most stories want to wrestle with you; they aren’t clear about their theme, or they might switch protagonists on you, or settings or even genres.

The Kingsgate series was a wrestler. You can tell, because when Kingsgate started, it wasn’t a book series called Kingsgate. It was a movie script called The Flipside.

Some of the pieces were there. Mr. No One was present, albeit different. Cap and her squad was instead a thief called Mac (Oooo… really, Old Me? REALLY?). Mrs. Stitch and Eddie Eight-Fingers were there, and Oracle Nick, although he’s switched around from Oracle Nick to Dave and back again so often I sometimes type the wrong one even now. The Grey King was always there, but who he was changed a lot.

The place felt similar, but… it was called The Flipside. Which, I’m going to point out right now, is one of the stupidest names I’ve ever had, and I’m embarrassed to admit it lasted on that project for years (and through two different option agreements, in my defence; apparently whatever idiocy was infecting me was transmitted to the producers as well.)

“Where am I?” “You’re in the Flipside.” The Flipside… of WHAT? Oh, for Pete’s sake, Old Me, why don’t you just name it “MysteryCoolsville” and be done with it?

Anyway… the thing was, for all its bad title and shifting setting and name-flipping Oracles, the story stuck with me. The protagonist didn’t for the longest time; I don’t think it was until the fifth version that I brought Jess, the control-obsessed neurosurgery student, into the picture. And even then, she wasn’t her current disgraced self. But this place kept nagging at me, kept telling me there was a story there. And eventually there was. Several stories, in fact, but you’ll need to wait for the rest.

So, writers, when that concept won’t go away, wrestle with it. You’ll often be surprised.

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