The Future Brokers by DN Knox & Colin Payn
It is rare for a novel to be written by two writers, even rarer when they live some miles apart, and when Covid-19 struck, it meant Colin Payn and I could only meet online.
Luckily, we had written a good deal of the book before the first lockdown, so we had developed our working routine and just had to adapt it to video-conferencing on Zoom or FaceTime.
The story of The Future Brokers began with Colin’s dislike of the traditional post-apocalyptic scenario of humans at war with Artificial Intelligence. He could see another way the two forces could resolve the conflict, but needed a way of writing a book that used layers of emotion that were not his normal style.
Colin and I met several years before at the Basildon Writers Group and since that time, we had both been beta-readers for each other’s books, attended book signings and workshops together and had also both joined the Brentwood Writers Circle.
Realising our writing approaches and our backgrounds were very different, Colin wondered if, for this project, our individual experiences could prove to be complementary. My qualifications are in science, while Colin has longstanding connections in politics. Typically, Colin’s writing is more down-to-earth and he has much experience of magazine articles and other factual work whereas one of my passions is writing historical and contemporary romance.
Colin wrote an outline for his idea and sent it to me and although I hadn’t considered writing a book with anyone before, I liked Colin’s premise and we decided to meet up and discuss the possibilities. So, in 2019 we got together for a brainstorming session. The story was set in the near future, in 2050, and involves two protagonists, George, unemployed and the survivor of a near-fatal fall, and Serena, an ambitious and high-flying government official. It was decided that each chapter would be from the point of view of one of the two characters and would be written in the first person. This seemed to lend itself to the idea that I would write Serena’s chapters and Colin would write George’s, however in the end we discussed each chapter before it was written and either Colin or I would write it then the other would read and suggest amendments.
This led to various chapters repeatedly being changed slightly, completely or even scrapped altogether until both of us agreed it was ready. The resulting book is a new voice which we both agreed is more powerful than either of us could have written alone.
It may sound like there was plenty of opportunity for argument but in fact, the entire process was remarkably harmonious. I was keen to maintain the integrity of Colin’s story and although I suggested scenarios and characters which fitted into it, I deliberately didn’t attempt to change the main ideas. Colin, despite the idea being his, was very flexible and accepting of my ideas and suggestions, and somehow, we both agreed on all the chapters. Both of us were honest in voicing our opinions and trusting each other’s judgement. Mutual respect for each other’s writing and both having a laid-back temperament undoubtedly helped!
When the first lockdown in 2020 came into force, Colin and I could no longer meet in person so we carried on meeting via video-conferencing.
Once the story was finished, we asked Basildon Writers’ Group member, Wendy Ogilvie, of Wendy Ogilvie Editorial Services, to edit the manuscript and then several beta-readers including Jan Revell and Lou Rossati, cast their eyes over it and gave their opinions. Paul Burridge, another member of Basildon Writers’ Group, of www.publishingbuddy.co.uk designed various covers, from which, Colin and I chose our favourite, and then we handed the final version of the manuscript to him for formatting.
During the two years it took us to write The Future Brokers, both Colin and I continued with other writing projects, both individually publishing several books, however we were both amazed that during this period, various scientific and technical developments that we had envisaged, came to fruition in the real world or were expected to appear in the near future. A vehicle similar to the Medi-Strider that we imagined, and is mentioned in the first chapter when George is rescued after his fall, can now be seen on YouTube.
Decide for yourselves whether we achieved a rattling, good story, with a strong ecological sub-text, by reading The Future Brokers, available on Amazon in paperback (£7.99), Kindle (£1.99) and Kindle Unlimited, here
Nothing can prepare you for a future where spies, governments and Artificial Intelligence vie for power and drive a love story like no other in The Future Brokers
It’s 2050 and George Williams considers himself a lucky man. It’s a year since he—like millions of others—was forced out of his job by Artificial Intelligence. And a year since his near-fatal accident. But now, George’s prospects are on the way up. With a state-of-the-art prosthetic arm and his sight restored, he’s head-hunted to join a secret Government department—George cannot believe his luck.
He is right not to believe it.
George’s attraction to his beautiful boss, Serena, falters when he discovers her role in his sudden good fortune, and her intention to exploit the newly-acquired abilities he’d feared were the start of a mental breakdown.
But, it turns out both George and Serena are being twitched by a greater puppet master and ultimately, they must decide whose side they’re on—those who want to combat Climate-Armageddon or the powerful leaders of the human race.
Follow Colin Payn on his website: http://www.colinpaynwriter.com/
The Future Brokers on Amazon in paperback (£7.99), Kindle (£1.99) and Kindle Unlimited, here