Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Story behind Grand Master's Pawn and the Grand Master's Trilogy

The idea for this book entered my imagination thirty years ago, although Grand Master's Pawn was completed and polished in the last year. Thirty years ago, I used my savings on a flight from the UK to the US where I joined a research lab at Yale. The stress and excitement of adapting to a new environment fired my imagination. I have many short stories and notes from that period, and one complete novel (The Lady is Blue).

My initial idea, being frugal, was to combine several short stories into a full-length novel. The organizing theme was a young woman, the Pawn, who travels on missions to different planets under the orders of a mysterious Grand Master. Following the chess analogy, the Pawn, Violet, is “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. Two of my short stories and skimpy notes about a dragon morphed into three of Violet’s missions.
The main characters were fuzzy until last Summer. After publishing my first full-length science fiction romance novel “The Lady is Blue”, I joined the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. At their Nebula Nights party, the character of the Grand Master crystallized in my mind, and the whole arc of the story fell into place. I acknowledge the Brigade in the book.  
There are hints of some of my favorite authors in this book: Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and Philip Jose Farmer. The White Mother in the book shares aspects of Miss Marple and Yoda. Violet’s Grand Master sounds like Darth Vader. Yet, characters acquire a life of their own, my story is a mystery, and “appearances can deceive” as one person says near the end of the book. The Grand Master’s griffin avatar may have been influenced by my visit to Bletchley Park, UK, in May 2014. The main entrance to the mansion is flanked by two stone griffins.
When I started writing in earnest, the story expanded into a trilogy with the beginning and end of each book etched in my mind. The complex world of Grand Master's Pawn, Book 1, describes visits to eight planets and five or six alien races, such as the Brululians with rotating eyestalks, and the dragons. 
There are twelve Grand Masters, humans and aliens with immense psychic powers. Some are good, some are evil. In Book 1, one Grand Master is killed. We learn that Violet's father was murdered after he prophesied doom for the Council of twelve Grand Masters.
Grand Master's Game, Book 2, was published this week. The Grand Master of the title, Athanor Griffin, has a plan to flush his enemy, the Red Queen, out of hiding. We meet many of the characters from Book 1, and some new ones, including the rest of the eleven Grand Masters. I am writing Book 3, and of course, there will be fewer Grand Masters by the end of the trilogy.  
Building imaginary worlds is fun and laborious. The Grand Master’s Trilogy is my most intricate universe to date, and has generated a short story, the trilogy and a side story in progress. 

Buy Links

Grand Master's Pawn :  
Grand Master’s Game:



  1. It's always interesting to learn how books "evolve". Thanks for sharing.

    1. Much of this repeats my guest post on Perilous Pauline's "Why I Wrote" blog.