His sense of duty!
Exactly, to the point where I think the Lawrence of Book Six is quite different from the Lawrence of Book One. I think the Lawrence of Book Six would think the Lawrence of Book One and sort of doesn’t’ recognize him, he thinks he was quite naïve, and the Lawrence of Book One would be quite shocked by the Lawrence of Book Six. In particular I think he decides that he’s going to be an independent agent. He’s not going to bow to larger authority, except where his conscience dictates. I think I needed six books to get there. And the last three books are basically going to be Lawrence and Temeraire are basically actors, driving actors, on the world stage and what effect is that going to have on the Napoleonic Wars and how is this all going to come to a smashing conclusion.

Will you bring this back to England or to Europe, or will it stay in New South Wales?
I can safely say there will be some more material in the last three books in England or in Europe, but many other places will be visited along the way.

How far along are you in the next book?
The next book is outlined and I’m probably going to start writing it seriously when I get back from two weeks of touring. I have a baby due about the same time as the next book, so it’s going to be kind of an adventure. Racing the clock to get the book done before the baby arrives. It’s kind of fun — waiting for the egg to hatch!

Just don’t try to harness the poor child!
Yeah, there will not be a net or anything.

Congratulations, I was wondering because there seemed to be a delay before this book.
Yes, getting the baby has been kind of a long process. It’s been a little distracting. But the next books should come in closer succession, and hopefully after that there will be a different series that I’m going to work on.

I was going to ask! What can you tell me?
It’s going to be a YA trilogy, at least that’s how it’s conceptualized in my head right now, and it’s inspired by The Secret Garden, one of my favorite books from childhood. Except that I sort of wanted to have the story of The Secret Garden in reverse, so that we start with a girl from our time who ends up going to live in India with her guardian, quit a reverse of the Victorian where a girl in Colonial Victorian India goes to live in that time, Victorian England. And the idea — it’s going to be a time travel story, actually, and it’s going to be very much about how place and people shape who we are. I don’t want to give away spoilers for it, yet.

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