It’s almost here—the release date for Love and War, installment number three of The Other Place series. It comes out on March 7!! But you can order an e-copy right now!
This is a novella told from Arty’s point of view. It describes events that took place during The Other Place, from her perspective. Originally, this was the beginning of the last book in the series, Synchronicity. I cut it out before turning the book into Limitless, though. I loved the story, and Arty’s voice, but it seemed awkward and out of place as the beginning of another book told in Justin’s voice.
However, when Limitless said they would publish it as a separate novella, I was thrilled!
I don’t know how many of you know the story of The Other Place Series, even though I’ve told it a million times. I began writing The Hustle a couple years ago when I’d first moved to a tiny little desert town in southern California. My marriage was unstable, and I myself was going through a transition (my psych would say I was in a manic phase, but that sounds too clinical).
With writing The Hustle, I was opening the time capsule of my late teens and early twenties. It wasn’t an appetizing process; it was as if someone had put an egg salad sandwich in there in 1999, and I was dissecting it. But I felt it was time to examine this part of my life, and see what I could come up with. So I wrote a book with a main character who was homeless and addicted to heroin, and who had to do a lot of things she wasn’t proud of in order to survive.
It was a really difficult process, but I’m glad I did it. I was able to root for Liria, and this helped me to forgive myself for a lot of my mistakes.
I’d been thinking about the book I’d write after The Hustle, and I was trying to gather the courage to write another book dealing with my personal issues. At that point, I hadn’t been very open about the fact that I had periodic episodes of psychosis, but when I was younger, I’d been terrified I had schizophrenia. Turns out I don’t, but I still felt the need to face that fear by writing a book from the point of view of a schizophrenic person.
Then, when I was still writing The Hustle, a weird and synchronistic thing happened. I was giving away sack lunches in the local park as part of the summer lunch program, when this young and handsome dude approached me and started talking about my shoes. I could tell right away he had schizophrenia, but I wasn’t scared of him at all. In fact, he was the coolest guy.
I only talked to him for about fifteen minutes, but I couldn’t get the guy out of my head. He ended up as a character in The Hustle, and then as the main character in the two books after that, The Other Place and Synchronicity.
I didn’t see the guy again for months—I didn’t even know his name. I called him “The Real Justin”. But I got to a point in the books when I knew my experience with psychosis wasn’t enough to get the narrative right. I needed to talk to The Real Justin in person.
Not knowing where to go, I went back to the park where I’d originally met him. He walked into it right after I did, came up to me, and told me he wanted to talk to me.
The Real Justin is, of course, Phoenix: my psychic vampire bastard and the other half of my soul peanut. We stuck together through the destruction of my marriage, and now we’re together as a couple. I’m so glad I have him. He’s taught me that being neurodiverse can be pretty damn awesome. And he’s brainstormed with me—during late-night delusions of mind-reading—ways to show the world what it truly means to be crazy, so that they can see the raw beauty of our worldview.
It was a long and heart-rending process, finding a home for a series this different. It’s hard for people to identify with people like Liria and Justin. This is why Phoenix and I feel like such outsiders: because we are. But I did finally find a home for the books with Limitless Publishing.
So, that’s the story of this series. I hope you like seeing the world through these different eyes, and that you can see the value in characters like Liria and Justin.