From the author:
Xiantha was the book which was easiest to write. The scenes set in the Xianthes had been bubbling about in my mind for at least a year, so when I got to them I found - for once - that the writing was fluid and that my fingers could hardly type fast enough to get the words down before the next sentence was there ready and waiting.
Most of my writing is much slower than that, with lots of false starts, and generally about a third to a half of the book finally discarded as the story takes just a slightly different turn, or as the characters don't seem to be acting quite as they should. So Xiantha was special in that way.
I don't know how other writers feel when they finish their own books, but I never feel satisfied. It is more a sort of "there is nothing else I can do to it" feeling in my case. I just go on writing or editing until the little naggings in my mind let me sleep, and that is it. Once the naggings go away I usually feel so relieved that I just leave it as is. I have usually looked at it so often by then that I have no idea whether it is good, bad or indifferent. In fact, sometimes I feel confused because I have revised one particular word/name/ scene so many times that the final version gets clouded by earlier ones. Luckily, nobody except me gets that kind of confusion!
The Ammonite Galaxy series starts off with very few characters, and most of the first book, Valhai, is concentrated on one small planet. Then it starts to expand: each book introduces more characters, and more places. This is intentional - I wanted it to start small and relatively simple, but to grow into something that was, in a way, bigger than itself, as if the series were zooming out from Valhai and gradually showing more and more of the Ammonite Galaxy. That is as much as I want to say, right now, about the end of the series!
I try to make all of my settings possible, and as soon as I saw the photo of Miranda, knew that I would have to use the idea of a gigantic swathe of land carved upwards and outwards. As soon as that idea fitted into the books, the story of the trip around one of the Xianthes pushed its way into the storyline too. I didn't really have much say in the matter!