Yes, it’s hard to believe it’s that time of year already. As of yesterday, it has been three years since the release of my second novel, An Absolute Mind. In a weird way, I can definitely believe it. At the same time though, it feels like it has been even longer than that.
An Absolute Mind follows the story of 19-year-old Sonya Ogino who finds out she has a genetically evolved, cognitive ability called Absolute Memory. Despite living in a relatively peaceful future, that doesn’t stop the underground activity of gangs wanting to kill off people like her. For her safety, her godmother arranges for her to be taken to a secret island. Just as she’s starting to appreciate the space, the revelation of who is actually in charge of the island puts things in perspective for her, as she gathers others together to fight back against the lack of action that is being done to truly protect them.
With all the written work I’ve done since then and the written work I’ll do in the future to come, An Absolute Mind will forever stand out to me not just for the story that I told, but it’s impeccable timing. If you do the basic math, three years and one week ago, the country – and the world at large – entered a new and scary era when the orange in office was elected into power. In the time since, a lot of the subject matter that I touched on in the novel has only become more relevant: prejudice, unjust incarceration, and inaction to take action by those in power. Even when we are long past this dark chapter in our country’s history, the weight of it and its timing with my novel’s entry into the world will forever carry that heavy significance.
As mentioned on last year’s anniversary, I have adapted An Absolute Mind into a screenplay. Throughout the year, I’ve been submitting it to film festivals, fellowships, screenplay competitions and what have you. In between time, I continue to rewrite and edit it, and it becomes a stronger script each and every time. While it hasn’t been accepted anywhere nor won any awards of any kinds (so far anyway), I’m not giving up. In fact, I’m about to do another round of revisions on it for both a fellowship and a film festival I’m applying to this month.
I also teased last year about the possibility of this futuristic world I’ve created and the people in it could lead to something more, which is why I want to reveal now that I am working on a followup to An Absolute Mind! I won’t say too much about it other than the fact that it takes place a few years after the events of the first one and will be based around a new set of characters. I’ve been slowly but surely been working on it throughout the year and it’s coming together.
By this point, you would think that I should be over the moon over everything I have going on and am working on for An Absolute Mind. To some degree, yes. But for the most part though, I’ve been feeling something else; something that actually parallels with a revelation I made last week.
So last week, I was in Honolulu for a quick getaway. Apart from wanting to explore the island, I was also there for a film festival. But as I was waiting in line to attend the opening night film, an overwhelming sense of anxiety overlook me, to the point where I knew there was no way I would overcome it until I was back on the mainland. I wound up returning home two days earlier than originally planned.
The anxiety came about from the fact that I was feeling very lonely. Yes, I was in Hawaii for the first time in over 20 years and I was attending a film festival I’ve been wanting to check out for a while now. But as I looked around at everyone else in line, they all were either in groups or at least with one other person, excitedly anticipating the night ahead. After I returned home, I thought about why this happened, for this wasn’t my first time traveling alone, nor was this even my first time attending a film by myself either. Eventually, I came to the conclusion of how there’s an imbalance in what I do alone and what I do with others, and ultimately, taking this trip to Hawaii is an experience I really wanted to have experienced with others.
It’s that loneliness that parallels with my own experience with being an author. Writing, for the most part, is a primarily solo journey, especially if you’re doing it independently. But when I do release it into the world, I’m releasing it for others to read, and I would hope that those readers would want to create a dialogue with me about the work of mine that they have read. It’s an outcome I’ve witnessed and have taken part in when it comes to others writers’ works, but seven years into this journey, I can’t say that I have had that particular experience as an author.
Which brings me back to the followup to An Absolute Mind I’m currently working on. With another presidential election now less than a year away, I’m thinking of possibly releasing this work to coincide it, much like how its predecessor did. At the same time though, I’ve also been looking into the possibility of actually getting these books released via a traditional publisher. But if I were to take that route though, then chances are it will take even longer for the followup to come out, and it’s already been a while since I last released a book.
This is where I turn to you, the reader (which I’m really hesitantly about doing because in the past, whenever I’ve done something like this, responses have been in small numbers). Should I aim to get the followup out in time for next year’s election, or are you willing to wait even longer for it if I were to pursue a traditional publisher? I honestly, genuinely need to hear your thoughts, so please let me know.
In the mean time, if you haven’t already, you can purchase An Absolute Mind from mainly wherever books are sold; including but not limited to Amazon, Arkipelago Books, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. If you’ve already read it, then I’d really appreciate it if you can leave a review on it for either the vendor you bought it from or for the book’s Goodreads page. Your review will make it easier for other people to find the book and depending on what you have to say, it just may help me grow as an author.
It’s been three years since An Absolute Mind came out, its screenplay adaptation is being shopped around, and a followup is on the way. Let’s deepen and expand the conversation on it. I don’t want to walk this journey alone when books are meant for communities to come together.