February 2014 Spellbreaker Progress Report
Few things are stranger than the flow of time for a newly minted physician. Individual hours unspool themselves, encompassing lifetimes of experience. Rare days off become epics of day-trip adventure or fuzzy pajama daysleeping decadence. And yet the months–strangely, paradoxically–are small feathered things; they flit by, almost uncounted.
It’s the sprawling hours I wish I could describe– the long conversations, someone dying quite literally in your arms, the sleep-deprived blurriness, the frustration and humiliation and hope, the small and large victories. But they are too big to describe. My hard drive houses a score of aborted vignettes and reflections. To someone outside medical training they would seem incomprehensible, to someone inside, quotidian.
The months, however, melt away. Somehow I’ve now been a practicing doctor for more than half a year. Somehow come July, I’ll be managing two other doctors and leading a hospital medicine team. It’s all rather mysterious.
My chosen method of dealing with it all is to write. I turned in a finished draft of Spellbreaker last May, and now I’m very happy to report that, after receiving some feedback from beta-readers, I’ve completed another revision. It’s a sleeker book now, having lost 20,000 words. Still it will be punching away in the heavyweight epic fantasy class with a total of 180,000 words.
It’s a darker book than its predecessors, more focused on endings and difficult choices. It’s also–I believe and hope–better written with deeper character exploration, more intuitive incorporation of the complex magical system, and more consistent plot progression. Of course, I’m counting on the readers to let me know how close to the mark I am on all these counts.
As to why the book is taking so long to get to the shelves…and to when we might expect it to come out… Sadly, like many authors, I have to answer with apologizes about events out of my control. Last year my editor at Tor left the company unexpectedly. The Spellwright Trilogy was orphaned; something that could have had dire consequences. But I was very fortunate that one of the company’s most senior editors, Patrick Neilson Hayden, was a fan of the series and picked me up. I’m thrilled to work with Patrick. Because he’s coming aboard on book three, he does need time to reread the first two books in the series before editing the third book. Hopefully I’ve made his job easier by landing a more polished manuscript on his desk. Even so, the absolute earliest I’d guess publication would be possible would be late 2014…and that might be too optimistic. When a publication schedule firms up, I’ll be sure to publish it here.
So…what’s next? Difficult to say. There’s a young adult novel idea I’ve been kicking around and a few medicine related stories I’m considering, but after a decade churning out a trilogy, I’m rather enjoying intellectual freedom for a bit. There are a few things I do know for certain. The next book will not take place in the Spellwright universe. To grow as a writer, I need to try some else for a while. Perhaps I’ll come back to Nicodemus’s world; I think and hope I ended the series in a way that satisfies fans of the trilogy but leaves the door open, as it were. Another thing I know I won’t be doing is blogging all that often. This weekend is my last as an intern, which is to say that I won’t have another two days in a row off until the end of June. I haven’t very good about responding to messages. I’m sorry about that. I’ve continued to get inquires about the next book. Some are an impatient, but most are wonderfully supportive. For that reason, I’m amazingly grateful. I could not do this without your support and patience.