My Dearest Fellow Conspirators,

I just got back from London, England.

I’ll let that sink in…

You know you’re in the middle of a real-life apocalypse when they start shutting down the British pubs.

First things first. I’m fine. So far, anyway!

Maybe that’s one of the scariest things about this virus: It likes to incubate for a couple of weeks before it decides to slam you into oblivion.

Remember when viruses just infected you, made you feel crappy for a few days, and then went on about their business? Not anymore. Now we have to worry that this Corona thing might be lurking, Aliens-style, inside of us, ready to burst out of our chests at any second and wreak havoc on us and any family or friends who might be within a six-foot radius.

Yes. I was in London, England just when the Corona pandemic was exploding, stores were closing, and people were panicking.

That’s truly terrifying.

I’ll say this, unlike the futuristic apocalyptic worlds of fiction, the people of the real-world apocalypse can be quite pleasant. Sure, we all quickly got used to giving everyone else a wide berth as we passed on the sidewalks. But there were still smiles and knowing nods.

And, even though personal contact was limited, everyone seemed to find ways to stay in touch with friends and family around the world as we updated each other on our various states of mental and physical well-being.

So, even though it was and remains a strange time, and although I’ve been to London before, and I always love it, this time was extra special.

As you may know, Travelers, the seventh book in the Conspiracy Chronicles (and the first book in the Transcendent Trilogy) takes place almost entirely overseas; specifically, Kress and her gang travel through an apocalyptic London on their mission to search out and rescue (or else escape from) fellow Emergents.

Which means this last trip of mine was both recreation and research.

Among other London sites making an appearance in Travelers, Kress will visit Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (the Clock Tower), and, of course, the Tower of London, famous for the six ravens it must have on hand at all times or else risk the fall of the British Empire.

[NOTE: Transfigured will come out after Travelers. In Transfigured, readers will be treated to a whirlwind adventure through Paris, where you’ll see the Eifel Tower (or, what’s left of it), and then on to places like San Sebastian, Zaragoza, and, finally, Valencia, Spain, home of the famous City of Arts and Sciences!]

I have to admit, writing about the apocalyptic end of real places near and dear to my heart is a painful experience. But it’s also oddly inspiring.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because destroying them in the future makes me all the more appreciative of them in the present.

Either way, it’s been a unique, motivating, and often scary time. But at least my family is healthy, and I still get to do what I love: namely, writing for you.

Thank you for reading!

Conspiratorially yours,

— KAR