We’re pretty pumped because Fiona McIntosh is returning to Morgravia with her new book and the finished copies have just arrived in the office! The Scrivener’s Tale will be out in Aussie stores in November. Be sure to check out more backstory and read behind the scenes with Fiona’s blog too!
And so another big fantasy trilogy reaches its conclusion with the publication of the third volume, King’s Wrath and the Valisar series, which has occupied my life for a couple of years, is now behind me, but there was a time when I was unsure it would ever end. I was writing King’s Wrath in Tasmania earlier this year and the story just refused to close. I am a writer who works to no plan and so the tale shapes itself in a most organic style. And, as if by magic, about 20,000 words out from when it decides that the story must finish, it appears to start narrowing itself down until I find myself in the climactic scenes wondering who will survive and who will perish. This is how it has been for four series now and so I have learned to trust my instincts and let the book work its own structure out.
As a result of this approach to writing I never set out to leave a story open for more tales. I rarely have much of an idea where any series will begin, certainly no inclination of where it will end – or even where each volume will close – and when it does finally finish up its book three I’m always surprised at the journey we’ve taken to get there. So leaving an open ending is truly beyond my ability, given the curious way that I tackle the daily grind of writing. And yet it seems that if I look at all my trilogies, each lends itself to more story and a couple of them have been all but begging me to go back and add more….particularly Trinity and The Quickening perhaps? I wonder if readers would agree.
So far I have resisted and to be honest I have not been tempted but just recently I made the bold decision that I was unlikely to write another epic series that took three years to publish. It feels like a milestone in my career to finally reach this mindset but while the notion of writing three books per story will no longer be my preferred structure, I also realised I wasn’t prepared to give up fantasy. I found myself at an impasse…but only briefly. The answer was staring right at me from my bookshelf because my favourite writer – Guy Gavriel Kay – writes most of his tales as standalone volumes.
And so next year I will be writing a standalone adult fantasy and I see no reason why an epic story with all the same qualities that readers have come to expect in my tales, can’t be delivered in one thumping book. I know it’s not the norm but I like the idea of stepping off the traditional treadmill in terms of structure. And increasingly I hear from audiences and individual readers that they would be as happy to read a single book as they would a trilogy. Many have embraced the news of the standalone warmly because they genuinely welcome the idea of not having to wait three years for a story to unfold. There’s definitely room for both formats in fantasy readers’ lives, of this I’m sure.
In a single volume I realise there won’t be a lot of time or space to build a new world and in order to make it instantly accessible to the readers who have followed me this past decade I have decided to break my own rule and return to the lands of The Quickening. And as the landscape of that second series of mine is so easy to grasp, newcomers to this next story will also find it just as simple to leap into.
This tale will not pick up where I left volume three – Bridge of Souls. Instead, it will be a new story in a different era of the empire, with new characters, perhaps new magic…who knows? I suspect that freshness will make it more invigorating to read and will add a new twist on a series that had its fair share of twisty-turny pathways to its story.
I’m surprised at how excited I am to be returning to Morgravia and Briavel and while I have little more than a thin thread of a storyline idea, I know it has pleased the Voyager team worldwide and I’m delighted that this book will be released across all English speaking markets in 2012 and hopefully beyond into my foreign language markets.
Thanks to all the readers who have read my stories and I hope you will keep travelling with me, this time back into realms we know rather well.
I suppose this begs the question…a return to Pearlis to find out how Herezah and Lazar are getting on, or into Penraven and more of the Valisar legacy and its enchantments? Well, I guess I’ve learned the lesson never to say never!
Sunday morning we bumped into Peter V Brett looking slightly pale outside the dealers room on Level 2. He was preparing for his reading from The Great Bazaar and by all accounts did very well. We gave away some Voyager party bags with the v15 hardbacks inside to some lucky tweeters and passers-by, celebrating both our anniversary and hitting 1000 followers on Twitter! Duncan Lay wandered over on his way to his kaffeeklatsch and said he was enjoying himself and also preparing for a reading later that day. Haven’t heard yet how it was but I’m sure it was fantastic!
Then your correspondent went to a ton of panels: the artist’s paradox with GoH Shaun Tan, Cat Sparks and Nick Stathopoulos was especially interesting. Robert Silverberg’s panel with Peter Ball, Alan Baxter and Keith Stevenson also provided food for thought on the novella form – hard to sell? Hard to write? Growing in popularity? Increasing the number of small press publishers?
After a brief break for lunch it was time to see our own Stephanie Smith, Voyager Publisher, on the Dreaming Again panel led by Jack Dann, with Janeen Webb, Jason Nahrung, Angela Slatter, Richard Harland and Jenny Blackford. Jack was in fine form and asked if everyone else had turned up for a roast Jack panel! 🙂
Then it was a discussion on crowns and monarchies with interesting insights from a whole panel of Voyager authors! Duncan Lay, Jennifer Fallon, Glenda Larke, Fiona Mcintosh with guest appearance by Joel Shepherd, duked it out – and one good point they made is that by settling on a monarchy as your governing system, you can concentrate on telling the actual story.
After this it was off to rm 519 to listen to Mary Victoria read from Tymon’s Flight and -bonus- from Samiha’s Song. Mary read beautifully and had us all under her spell.
We had a lovely Voyager dinner with our authors and then a few of us headed to the Hugos, where Garth Nix was doing a fab job of MCing. We’re all thrilled that Peter Watts won a Hugo for his story in New Space Opera 2 and Peter’s speech thanking Jonathan Strahan, editor of the anthology, was nice. We also enjoyed George R R trying to run off with a Hugo he was presenting and Robert Silverberg’s quips about editors and wombats!
Finally, it was off for one final evening in the Hilton Bar accompanied by Peter V Brett to join Jennifer Fallon and Glenda Larke, Stephanie and HarperCollins account manager and fantasy fan extraordinaire Theresa Anns. Then bed!
Today we’re off to Mary V’s panel at 10 on Writing Strange Lands, and then dropping into Nicole Murphy’s reading, where she tells us she will not be reading from page 310!
Filed under: AussieCon4, Awards, cons, Duncan Lay, Fiona McIntosh, George R R Martin, Glenda Larke, Hugos, Jack Dann, Jennifer Fallon, Jonathan Strahan, Kylie Chan, Mary Victoria, Nicole Murphy, on writing, Peter V Brett, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Tracey O'Hara, Will Elliott | Tagged: Duncan Lay, Glenda Larke, Hugos, Jason Nahrung, Jennifer Fallon, Jenny Blackford, Jonathan Strahan, Mary Victoria, Nicole Murphy, Peter V Brett, Stephanie Smith, theresa anns | 3 Comments »