April comes, the buds open, my garden is filled with green, etc. etc.
Had a lot of bits and pieces going on over this most recent period – spent most of march working on an unrelated project, plus we had easter holidays, and I’m going through a major upgrade and redesign of the website (which is looking great and will hopefully be installed in the next couple of months). Then I was asked to write an introduction for the Folio Society’s new ultra-nice hardcover edition of A Game of Thrones, which I was very pleased to do, as (probably to no one’s surprise) it was a hugely important and influential book for me. It fairly blew my mind when I first read it back in the 90s: it showed you could do something character-focused, gritty and shocking while still staying very much within the sandbox of epic fantasy. I might never have started writing seriously without it – certainly what I wrote wouldn’t have been the same.
The upshot of all this is that there haven’t been huge strides forward with the new trilogy, which we’re now calling The Age of Madness. But work has continued, nonetheless. Mostly on re-writing the last quarter of the last book, which needed some re-thinking, a couple of new scenes and one big new chapter. Plenty of work still to do to smooth it all off but hopefully the basic shape is there now – it brings the main characters back together in a more satisfying way than the original draft, mirrors the end of the first book and gives more space to take stock of how they and their relationships have changed.
The UK cover for A Little Hatred is now done, and the US cover is definitely getting there, hopefully to be revealed in the next month or two. I also wrote a little short story to go in the Waterstones hardcover edition of the book as an exclusive. Nothing at all essential but hopefully a pleasing confection for those that get it, and that kind of thing definitely does help retailers to give a book a push.
And then I read the page proofs of A Little Hatred over the last few days. It’s always interesting seeing a book properly typeset – it gives it a new level of polish and authority. It’s also, at least for me, the first time I just read a book of mine through in order without being constantly distracted by what needs to be changed or tweaked or rewritten. I find one’s feelings about a book don’t really crystallise until some time after it’s come out, and you have the chance to process all the many different things readers have to say, but I think I’m about as pleased with it as I’ve ever been with a book at this point. Time will tell whether that continues…
With the first book fresh in my mind it’s now time to look back at the second – which I think is now in pretty good shape but could certainly do with another go over in a couple of areas. Then I’d like to go straight onto the third and really crunch through to make a strong 2nd draft. Thereafter I can hopefully work on books 2 and 3 together as a unit, looking at the details of character, setting and language. That kind of work is something I can pick up and put down a bit more easily, which is just as well as by that point we’ll probably be getting close to the release of A Little Hatred in September, and there’ll be all kinds of other demands on my time…
Time to reveal the new cover direction for A Little Hatred in the UK… Design by Tomás Almeida. The familiar parchment covers of The First Law and standalone books had served us extremely well, but we really couldn’t see any way to develop it further, and didn’t want to take a step backwards, so time […]