CAMPBELL: The Problem With Bliss (Childers Universe Book 5)


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(as of Feb 19,2021 13:51:56 UTC – Details)


Senior Captain William Campbell and Rear Admiral Jan Childers are on the Grand Tour. Eight planets in two years. While Childers’ heavy cruiser squadron trains up and drills local CSF forces, Campbell assesses the local intelligence group. Bliss is their fifth stop.

They arrive on Bliss just after a hostile incursion occurred at a particularly inopportune time, indicating there may be an espionage ring informing the enemy of the CSF’s plans well in advance. Campbell sets out to find and neutralize that espionage ring.

They’ve killed already, and they aren’t about to let Bill Campbell put them out of business. But they don’t know who and what Bill Campbell really is.

For that matter, neither does Jan Childers!

An Interview With Rich Weyand

So Jan Childers is back. We thought her story was finished.
Well, in its larger scope, the story was finished with the trilogy, in the first two volumes. This is an episode in her life that the trilogy swept past. This entire book fits between the chapters “The Grand Tour” and “Commanding Officer, Task Force 32” of Childers, the first book in the series.

And Bill Campbell is the primary character?
Yes, the action here centers around Bill Campbell, although Jan Childers is also here for much of it and they have some good scenes together. Tien Jessen, Pavel Nimsky, and Sammy Heyerdahl are all here, too, along with a bunch of new characters.

What’s the primary thrust?
We finally find out what Bill Campbell does for a living. All we’ve really known until now is that he’s in the Intelligence Division, and he has a role in counter-espionage, at least after Kodu. He never talks about his work in the trilogy, and Jan doesn’t ask. They both have clearances that do not allow them to tell each other everything. They make something of a joke about it in the trilogy.

And this is on the Grand Tour?
Yes. After the Feirman payback, Admiral Stepic sends Jan Childers out on a training and drill mission, to bring a lot of Commonwealth planets up to speed on the standard Fleet Book of Maneuvers. Birken and Durand, afraid Bill Campbell will take half-retirement rather than endure a two-year separation from Jan, send Campbell out to assess the intelligence operations on whatever planets Jan visits.

And there’s a problem with Bliss.
Yes, hence the title. There’s a major problem on Bliss. and Campbell is going to ‘fix’ it. The need to replace the head of intelligence on Bliss after the Grand Tour is mentioned in the trilogy, and that he retires, but no more than that.

Did this write as fast as the other books?
Not quite. It took 29 days to write once I had the plot elements sorted out in my head. For 48000+ words, that’s a little long. But there’s a lot of timing issues here, because you have flight times to take into account, and the timing of Jan’s planet leave was already set in Childers. I didn’t want any discrepancies between the trilogy and this book. I also had to think about how forensic tools, with which I am very familiar, might work in virtual reality. That was cool, but took time.

What about the cover?
A friend of mine, Matt Shute, posted a selfie on Facebook a couple years back. It was just such a compelling picture. It has its issues, of focus and lighting, but in a night shot, I thought it would work out, especially in a thumbnail version, which is what sells ebooks. Softening the background keeps the foreground more sharply focused than the background. So it’s sort of a night-time selfie of Campbell in Joy. The model is a little young for the character, but it worked for me. The background is a portion of a larger picture of part of Hong Kong. I didn’t want a recognizable US city, obviously. I think the result conveys the espionage/counter-espionage nature of the book.

What’s next?
I have this plot idea, and it keeps pulling me to write it. Several hundred years into the future, what is the legacy of Jan Childers and Galactic Mail?

CAMPBELL: The Problem With Bliss (Childers Universe Book 5)
CAMPBELL: The Problem With Bliss (Childers Universe Book 5)


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