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Thanks, GameSetWatch: As this GameSetWatch post implies, Constellation Games was triggered by, and originally written for serialization on, that site. Here's what happened: at the end of 2008 Simon Carless emailed me and said (paraphrase) "Hey, I liked 'Mallory', would you like to write some kind of game-related serial on GSW?" Later that day I sent him a pitch that still describes the novel pretty well. Turnaround was quick because I took the setting wholesale from my 2007 novella "Vanilla", which now needs to be rewritten because I completely cannibalized it for the novel.

Writing the book was not quick at all. The original plan was to build up a backlog and then start the serialization, the way webcomics work. I did about a quarter-draft that was awful, and then I had a conversation with some published novelists in which the novelists were unanimous that they would never start serializing something without having at least a complete draft. I started over and told Simon I'd like to finish a draft before we serialized.

Fortunately, the second draft was much better, I finished it by the end of 2010, and we decided it would be cool to try and find a real publisher for the novel. (Serializing the novel on GSW would pay me as a columnist, which--spoiler alert--is not very much.) I was apprehensive about chasing this particular carrot, anticipating years of bitter failure and publishing-industry drama, but I was able to get Candlemark & Gleam interested quickly, and the rest of the process has moved very smoothly.

So, thanks, Simon and GSW, for giving me the push I needed to write something novel-length. I'm also happy that on GSW I will forever be "Leonard Richardson (robotfindskitten)". It's like the way the Columbia alumni magazine refers to "Barack Obama ('83)".

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