The Bootleg Wars Ensnare the Latchkeys

From Pixies to Poe to the Roaring Twenties—

(and everything in between, below, beyond, beside)

By Kris Katze

My first reaction when Steven Savile sketched his concept for Latchkeys: WOW! WAY COOL!

My second reaction: me, too, please!

Steve graciously included me in with his diverse group of writers who are all scary talented.

Writing is so often solitary that when an opportunity comes along to collaborate with a bunch of pros on a project, it’s a great joy and a ton of fun. With everyone’s vastly different backgrounds, personalities and perspectives, we set out to fill in some of the blanks Steve had left and build a framework we all could use. It wasn’t contention-free, but all the debate and the back and forth made for something much different than any of us would have come up with alone: something exciting and unique to the Hive.

Which brings us to those Roaring Twenties, in the form of The Bootleg War, also known as Speakeasy Part One. This story contributed a piece to our shared world, but more than that, it served as the first half of a story to be concluded by a different author in the group.

James Reasoner.

James is a gentleman through and through. It was a huge pleasure to work with him. We consulted and planned, shooting questions back and forth, figuring out exactly what story we wanted to tell, then deciding how to break it down, and what pieces to put where. We hope we came up with a fast-paced thrill ride through the era of gangsters and molls and prohibition in New York City.

Many of the Latchkey‘s episodes showcase a particular character or two. Unlatched introduced Tanglewood not just to the readers, but to Matt as well. Kaitlyn played a major role in The Ugly Little Bloke and Jeremy took the lead in Nevermore. For this story, we wanted a team effort from the get-go. The rest of the Wardens are already seasoned adventurers. Matt’s fitting right in with them. James and I wanted the dynamic of all of them working together, showing how they all have fantastic skills, but together add up to so much more. Upcoming installments will give Mercy, Marguerite and Will—and even Amina and Emmaline—their due.

For The Bootleg War, though, I spread around the action and gave everyone plenty to keep them busy—and get them into a heap of trouble. Which I then passed to James to get them out of. He did a masterful job, but that’s for him to talk about next month.

For now, I can’t praise the rest of the Hive enough for all their contributions to the project, and for everyone’s incredibly helpful and thoughtful comments which improved my story immensely. I’m thrilled to be in such good company. Special thanks to Steve for letting me play in his sandbox, and to James whom I worked with most closely on doing the actual writing.

While James worked on part two, part one went to Paul Kupperberg for another look, so HUGE thanks to him for all his work and the immense help he provided as well.

Finally, any litany of thanks would be sorely incomplete without mention of the wonderful artist Vance Kelly and the lovely covers he’s done.



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