I started writing Counting from Zero about a year ago on a high speed train heading out of Tokyo – sound familiar?
The book was really born much earlier. I had previously written four technical books and enjoyed the experience greatly. But the subject matter, Session Initiation Protocol or SIP, was extremely narrow and technical, and so not of interest to very many people. I had been thinking for a while about writing a book for a wider audience, and I was thinking along the lines of Internet security. Then I got the idea of trying to incorporate some useful technical information into a work of fiction.
I had written various pieces of fiction over the years, but just for my family and friends. (There are a few Star Trek fanfic stories out there that hopefully will never find their way to the Internet!) Instead of thinking about the plot, I first thought about the characters. This was a lot of fun! Once I felt like I knew Mick, Kat, Lars, Gunter, and Liz, I started getting ideas about situations I wanted to put them in, and the plot began to take shape. I re-read some of my favorite authors such as Jane Austen, Neal Stephenson, and Mark Twain for inspiration. At the suggestion of my best friend from high school, Steve George, I added the Security and Other Lies blog chapter interludes. The book slowly took shape.
I wrote most of the book while traveling: on airplanes, in hotel rooms, in airports, and on trains. I have spent time in nearly every setting of the book.
Then, I reached that place of decision: what to do with the Counting from Zero manuscript once I had a draft complete. Next time I’ll talk about how I became an eBook publisher.