I’ve been silent for quite a while, and I’m sorry about that. My life for the last ten months has been difficult for reasons quite apart from the challenge of writing Book II of The Fire Sacraments. Those external issues, however, have taken a toll on my productivity.
I’m glad of your impatience. I share it. This is a story I’m dying to tell. But the promise I’ve kept with all my books is to hold to my own high standards. Too often, fantasy series begin strong and tumble into mediocrity or worse. Many factors contribute to such “sequelitis.” But the worst culprit is very often speed.
No one’s a villain in this process. Readers want to know what happens next. Publishers want to make them happy. Editors need to keep their publishers in the black. And writers often need more time than these pressures allow. Time to flesh out the vision, to dream the fictional dream to its best conclusion, time to find the words.
The good news is that the novel is well along. I’m fighting to get a complete draft in my editors hands before the first of June. It’s going to be tough, but I’m working hard at it every day.
A bit about Sidewinders itself. Familiar faces—Kandri, Mektu, Chindilan, Eshett, Talupéké—remain at the heart of the story, but in Sidewinders the canvas is greatly enlarged. We see the world of Urrath not only over Kandri’s shoulder but from the points of view of new characters scattered across the desert and the surrounding lands. We see war spreading from country to country, the malign effects of the Time of Madness, a deepening fixation on old grievances, old fears. We learn a great deal about the Quarantine, and about the organized criminals who have bled and abused the continent for hundreds of years. We follow the efforts of a few, brave, outnumbered souls who see a path to defeating those criminals.
That said: Mektu is peak Mektu in Sidewinders. I cannot excuse his behavior. Rest assured, however, that I am exploring all possible therapies, whether devised by Urrathi medicine, Outworlder science or the exorcists of Lupriz.
Finally, despite all the low points in the last year, it’s been a source of constant joy to be writing this tale. Your words of love and support have kept me going. I thank you with all my heart.
Back to work,