In a lot of ways, The Girl in the City was an accidental book. I hadn’t planned on writing it, but an idea centred around an event in Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania series stuck in my mind. At that point, it wasn’t much more than the image of a young girl fleeing the city. I didn’t really know why she was running or what she was running from, and I can’t go into what appealed to me about the idea so much without entering spoiler territory. Suffice to say, Ethel the Muse was quite taken with this little scenario and wouldn’t shut up about it.
Eventually, I gave in and wrote a novella in the hope it would scratch that particular itch and I could get back to working on Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet. I wasn’t even going to publish it, but Michael encouraged me and in the end I went ahead, got a cover, had it edited and proofread and published it.
Back then it had a different cover.
I thought that would be it, but then fellow author Chris Pourteau asked me whether I was planning any sequels to The Girl in the City. I had a vague idea that I could continue Leah’s story, and said that I might – eventually. He promptly asked for the titles of the sequels, and I came up with The Girl in the Wilderness and The Girl in the Machine. I still don’t actually know why he wanted to know, but I filed them away and didn’t think too much about it.
Those ideas stuck in the back of my mind, and I played around with a few outlines and even some openings for the second book, but it wasn’t until March of 2016 that I decided to write the sequels. There was a couple of reasons – one, I wanted a break from the zombie series I was working on and two, people were asking me “What happens next?” A lot of people wanted more Leah.
So, I decided that I’d take a short break, write two more novellas and then go back to the zombie series.
That’s not what happened.
The Girl in the Wilderness ended up being over 49,000 words long, that’s over two and a half times longer than The Girl in the City. The Girl in the Machine is even longer – 66,000 words. All that writing, revising, editing and proofreading sucked up a lot of time and delayed the zombie series, but I think it’s been worth it. I’m very proud of how all three books have turned out, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people think of this final instalment.
For a limited time, The Girl in the Machine is on offer for 99c, as are both The Girl in the City, and The Girl in the Wilderness.
You can also read all three books completely free on Kindle Unlimited.
For teenager Leah King, the war against the authoritarian Transport Agency is personal. With her home destroyed and her family dead, only TRACE gives her life any meaning. Under the mentorship of Sergeant Alice Williams, she’s learning how to travel through the virtual reality networks and is finally discovering her place in this dangerous new world.
But a key TRACE operative has been captured. With TRACE leadership reluctant to act, Alice, Leah and the rest of their squad are forced to take matters into their own hands and attempt a rescue.
The mission brings Leah face to face with a new and deadly enemy, who just may hold the secrets to her past. But time is running out, and Leah will be forced to risk everything to find the answers she needs.
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[Out Now – The Girl in the Machine by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 17th February 2017]