A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . .
In the final hours of Emperor Palpatine's reign, newly promoted Captain Pina of the Star Destroyer Reaver is sent to quell unrest amidst the vast refugee camps on the planet Farsalt.
Unearthing a nest of conspiracies, Captain Pina will be forced to reconsider everything he believes about the Empire he serves in events that will change the planet Farsalt forever, and with it the lives of the Lady Jish, handmaiden to the queen, and the Princess Tayre and her adopted sister Ella.
And for Assayer Neerada, tasked by Lord Vader to hunt down Force Sensitives, Farsalt presents an end and a beginning - but only if she can survive long enough.
The first chapter, The Sanctuary Command, was released on 13th March 2018. The next chapter will be released on the 15th March.
Heir to the Sith - Quick guide
Genres: Star Wars Heir to the Sith combines space opera and military sci-fi, destiny and family, friendship, love, and betrayal set against the backdrop of violent conflict and great political uncertainty.
The story is told from four 'point of view' characters. It is completed so there is no danger you will be invested in a story without being able to finish it.
It is a Watt Pad exclusive, so I will not be putting it online anywhere else until the whole story has been told on that site.
The time of each chapter release will be 20.00 UK time. This will be 15.00 in New York and Toronto, and midday in Los Angeles.
I will regularly be online with Watt Pad to engage with readers and to answer questions and comments and discussions.
What can you do to help?
Heir to the Sith is obviously a free give-away, yet I do have targets for what I want it to achieve.
The aim is to get a good amount of readers on Watt Pad itself, and to try to become a Watt Pad Featured author and even nominated for a Watt Pad 'Wattys' over the next year.
To stand any chance of this, I would like those who enjoy the novel to help spread the word amongst various friends and networks and to draw attention to its publication.
In the next few weeks I will put together a 'resource page' for the war effort! It will contain information, websites, and social links for you to share and comment on and to hopefully get this work enough exposure to make it worth while.
Fill in the form below to register your interesting spreading the word!
Heir to the Sith - the background and the characters
The setting of Heir to the Sith is very deliberately chosen: in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Emperor and the destruction of the core of the Imperial war machine, the novel and its characters are heavily influenced by the sudden loss of certainty they had only hours before. This uncertainty piles the pressure on to the decisions each character must make when they are unsure of wider events. Is the Emperor really dead, or is a ruse to entrap traitors and rebel cells? Human history, certainly in times of upheaval and war, is beset with examples of people having to make decisions in such circumstances. These decisions are formed by that individual's morality, history, experience, and the facts as they can discern them in such fog. It is this uncertainty that gives rise to conflict and thus drama in a backdrop of war and intrigue.
The location of the novel, of a rather unimportant sector away from the Core and galactic civilisation is also deliberate, as I wanted to examine the affects of the rebel victory at Endor on people and planets far away and to whom the names of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo, whilst might be known, are also very distant. It is this world building that brings something fresh to the Star Wars universe by introducing new characters, places, and new forms of Imperial domination and also resistance. It is also an opportunity to explore the reality of Imperial life amongst the officer class as well - and how the constant suspicion of a paranoid dictatorship would permeate through all levels of command to limit decision making, competence and daring by such individuals. From this viewpoint, the book is a tribute to the historical fact that dictatorships tend to undermine themselves often to the point of collapse: from the purges of Stalin to the barring of Jewish scientists in the Third Reich, Palpatine's empire is no exception, with fanatical loyalty officers aboard every ship and installation looking for any signs of treachery.
The novel also adheres strictly to Star Wars law and cannon, with the exception of the introduction of the 'Force Assayers.' These new Imperial agents are an updated form of the Inquisitors, familiar to viewers of the 'Rebels' TV show (although more ruthless). In my universe, they were brought into service after the Battle of Yavin, when the Empire saw what damage a Force sensitive could do (and who was at that time not known to be Anakin's son).
For the four main characters themselves, none will make it through the story unchanged. Each has an arc that will challenge them morally, forcing them to make uncomfortable choices that don't always turn out well, forcing them to question their beliefs: for drama of this sort must lead to change in anyone's character.
As for the characters themselves, in the Empire's corner we have Captain Pina, newly promoted captain of the Star Destroyer Reaver, dedicated to patrolling the Syreal Sector. A competent captain but lacking in experience, Captain Pina's career was fast-tracked by the destruction of the first Death Star, and who is now completing his first few months of captaincy under the watchful eyes of Admiral Karion, one of the Empire's most battle hardened commanders. Then there is Assayer Neerada, a trained Force user who has been turned into a tool by Darth Vader: a being who is tasked to hunt down those gifted with the Force and to prevent any developing their powers to threaten the Empire. Conditioned to detest weakness of any kind and stripped of any compassion, empathy, and mercy, the Assayers are terrifying in pursuit of their single purpose.
Representing the planet Farsalt we have the two princesses: Princess Tayre Garrand, heir to the planet's crown and dedicated to serving her people and the galaxy through Farsalt's pacifist stance, and her adoptive sister, the wayward and spontaneous Princess Ella Malquet. Both girls will find their lives turned upside down with the Empire's arrival.
Why did I write a whole novel and give it away for free?
There has probably never been a better time to be an author. Researching and distributing your work has also never been easier with the likes of Wikipedia, Kindle and Watt Pad. Promoting does still remain a challenge . . . we might all have new tools with social media and niche forums, but this is still a battle for any writer.
I have to confess that self promotion does not come easily to me. I dislike having to seduce, blackmail, beat, or shout at people to try and get my work in front of them. But a place like Watt Pad offers a new opportunity and a different way of doing this. Releasing a book in serialisation keeps people interested (hopefully!) and builds a readership base. And some of the figures are truly astounding, with several new authors being picked up by the mainstream publishing industry for their work to reach a wider audience.
So, I decided to have a go at using Watt Pad to release a story. To make the most of it, I picked the Star Wars universe to base it in, in an effort to help build the profile of the work and because I quite like that universe and felt I had a good story to tell. Unusually for Watt Pad stories, I made sure the work was completed before releasing the first chapter - which means I can concentrate on engaging with readers rather than having to write the next instalments. It also means that I cannot retreat: the work is done, so it will be delivered.
Of course, the creation of a novel length story certainly isn't free: I have chipped away at for the last 2 years, pushing it forward through the winter nights and the summer mornings, yet the characters are good company - and they are also to blame: a bad character is a chore to write. A good character will write itself. An excellent character will come into your story, tear up your plot, and take you on an adventure of your own. That is what has happened to me in this story. It has been fun. Even so, I am hopeful that work might come out of this - my day job in Content Marketing for SMEs is highly relevant to some of the Watt Pad community who use it to seek out new writers, so fingers crossed.