Guest Author: Iain Kelly ~ Finishing the Story: Writing a Trilogy #booklaunch

Two years ago I managed to finish my first novel and publish it on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. While basking in the satisfaction of completing the book, ‘A Justified State’ (and receiving the odd couple of gratifying reviews), I got a nagging sense that the characters I had created had more of a story to tell beyond ‘THE END’ of the first book.

Pretty quickly the basis of a plot for parts 2 and 3 of a trilogy came together. ‘A Justified State’ is a detective thriller set in an imagined near future world, loosely based on my home city, Glasgow. I wanted to avoid repeating what I had written in the first book, not only because I thought readers would be bored reading the same sort of story again, and also because I knew I would be bored writing something similar. So I set about taking the characters from the first book and continuing their stories in a different style of book. The second book, which would become ‘State Of Denial’, moved away from crime fiction and towards a political thriller, concentrating on the world of journalism and politics and inspired by my love of investigative journalist drama (think ‘All The President’s Men’ or ‘Spotlight’).  I also moved the story forward three years, allowing the characters to have move on, change and develop in the intervening years. The third book would move the story on another few years and be a war novel, inspired by the best of Hemingway (aiming high!), the start of which was sown at the end of book two.

With the structure decided, I knew how my two main characters – police detective Danny Samson and assassin Gabriella Marino – would move and develop through the books. What I needed to develop was what other characters would travel through all three books and what new characters should be introduced. By moving book two into the worlds of journalism and politics, I was able to introduce a lot of new, different types – including a young ambitious journalist, Maxine Aubert, and the State Chancellor Lucinda Romanes. In the third book a new cadre of war comrades were introduced. The new characters allowed the dynamics to change between the original characters and freshen up relationships.

Around the time of starting the second book, my young son was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease type-1 diabetes. As always, after the initial shock and while learning about the disease and how to deal with it as a parent, I used it as an inspiration and brought it into my fictional world in the character of a young boy who suffers from the same disease. Writing is always a great way to work through fears, ambitions, hopes and worries in life.

I set myself an ambitious timetable to release the books each year. ‘State Of Denial’ arrived in 2019 and I moved straight onto writing the third and final instalment, ‘State Of War’, which is now available. I always had a clear idea about the end point I wanted to reach with both of my central characters, and this didn’t change during the writing. As I wrote the books it surprised me how the endings for some of the other characters came together. Happily, I was really pleased with how it all came together – plot and character – and the  resolution in the third book felt natural and not forced in anyway. I’m pretty pleased with the trilogy as a complete story, and I hope the reader will think the same.

State of War

Book three of The State Trilogy

by Iain Kelly

The State is at war at home and abroad. While the global First Strike War continues, a civil war threatens to bring down the ruling Central Alliance Party.
Daniel Samson – Citizen, Traitor, Survivor.
Gabriella Marino – Soldier, Assassin, Fighter.
Caught between the State Forces and the rebels, hunted by both sides, they must choose between their own survival and protecting the city and the citizens trapped within the war zone.
Are they willing to sacrifice their own chance of happiness to save a city from destruction?
The thrilling conclusion to The State Trilogy sees Danny and Gabriella join forces against their enemies in a fight that will determine the fate of the State, and the lives of all those who live there.

Available from:

 Amazon UK   Smashwords  Barnes & Noble  Kobo

Iain Kelly

About the author

Iain Kelly lives in Scotland, UK. He is married with two children and works in the media industry as a television editor for the BBC. When he is not creating stories through sound and vision, he is writing them. ‘A Justified State,’ published in 2018, was his first novel.


Find and follow Iain

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A Justified State

Book One of The State Trilogy

Available via Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

In the future, The State is ruled by the socially reformist Central Party Alliance. Poverty and homelessness have been eradicated, but overpopulation, an energy crisis and an ongoing overseas war are threatening the stability of the country. When a local politician is assassinated, Detective Danny Samson finds himself thrust into the middle of the investigation. Still grieving for his dead wife and children, Danny tracks down the assassin, an ex-military sniper called Gabriella, only to discover she may not be the real villain. The secret behind the murder of one politician may bring down the entire ruling Party, and Danny soon learns those in power will go to any lengths to protect The State. Joining forces with Gabriella and the mysterious government agent Phillips, Danny must unearth the truth and bring the guilty to justice, before they catch up with him first.

Excerpt of Amazon Reviews:

“What if the government controlled the population ? What would that mean for ethics? for privacy? and for individual choice? What happens to the human mind when the body no longer functions properly. What is truly free about free will? What if you found out everything you believed was a lie?”  Laurie J. Bell

This is a superbly well written fast paced, suspenseful mystery. A page turner as the action in the book makes you gasp and the witty one liners, brings you some smiles amidst the tension happening with the story. A story that I wanted to continue when I got to the last page for I was drawn to the characters and believe they still have a story to tell!” Carolyn

“Author Iain Kelly has created a fascinating near future world in which police investigation, as we know it, has been rendered moot by technology. Enter Detective Danny Samson, handed the most important case of his life, a case requiring old-fashioned detective work–the kind of work that can get a man killed.” CV

State of Denial

Book Two of The State Trilogy

Election time in The State, the citizens prepare to vote. A journalist from the Capital City heads north to report on growing resistance to the powerful ruling Party. An ex-police detective returns to the City he once fled. Together they become entangled in a burgeoning opposition movement. Soon they learn the Party will do whatever it takes to remain in power, and one life is all it takes to spark a revolution.

Available in Paperback and for Kindle

at Amazon UK and Amazon US

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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12 Responses to Guest Author: Iain Kelly ~ Finishing the Story: Writing a Trilogy #booklaunch

  1. Iain Kelly says:

    Reblogged this on Iain Kelly and commented:
    To coincide with the release of my new novel ‘State Of War’, I’ve written a guest blog post over on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo about some of the challenges and inspirations involved in writing a trilogy of novels. Do hop over and give it a read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iain Kelly says:

    Thanks for hosting, Sue, much appreciated 🙂


  3. Congrats on the trilogy, Iain. I laughed when I read that the characters weren’t done with you. And I hope your son is doing well. I think we add a lot of depth to our books when we aren’t afraid to work through out “fears, ambitions, hopes and worries in life.” Best of luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. joyroses13 says:

    I can’t wait for my copy to come! Ordering for my sister too for I know she would really like your trilogy. Congrats on finishing a wonderful set of books! I know what you mean about your characters not being done with you yet, they can be quite demanding, can’t they! LOL!
    I also totally agree about writing helping to work through fears and worries. It can help expressing my fears in writing and it also can help to just escape to another world sometimes with my characters for awhile. 🙂 .

    Liked by 2 people

  5. TanGental says:

    Time I got around to book one, methinks. Good luck with them all Iain.

    Liked by 2 people

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