Next update January 4
Welcome to my last update of the year.
2012 was a pretty good year for me. Another novel cracked the New York Times bestseller list, as Star Wars: Annihilation made the hardcover list for December 2. It didn’t climb as high as Revan – which cracked the top 10 – but anytime one of my books makes the list I’m happy.
The reach and scope of the Star Wars universe continues to amaze me, as evidenced by this interview I did with Bastion, a Polish language website. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Polish; the link is to the original English version of the interview.
This year I also managed to get out to a number of conventions to do signings, panels and appearances, and I’m looking to do even more in 2013. (Along with a few more Vegas trips – going to be there for Super Bowl!) Interacting with the fans in person is always a great experience; it’s far more enjoyable than reading forum posts. It’s partly because people are much nicer in person, and partly because there’s an energy and excitement in the air when you go to an event with a large group of people with whom you share a common passion to bond over.
Of course, the biggest news of 2012 – at least from my perspective – was my decision to leave BioWare and pursue my own original projects. Fortunately, I was able to find an agent (the inestimable Ginger Clark) and an editor/publisher (Tricia Narwani over at Random House, who worked with me on my first two Mass Effect novels) who were willing to take a risk on my Children of Fire fantasy series.
It wasn’t easy walking away from BioWare, and I know a lot of fans are upset that I’ve turned my focus away from Mass Effect and Star Wars (for the time being). But I’ve been working sporadically on Children of Fire for more than a decade, so seeing it finally become reality is the fulfillment of all my childhood dreams. (Except for the part where I become a pro golfer… but one dream at a time, right?)
The first book – Children of Fire – is already written, and I’m in the early stages of book two, The Scorched Earth. We still don’t have an official publication date for the first book yet, but I’m hoping it will be sometime in 2013. And I’m happy to say that several publishers outside of North America are taking an interest in the series. I can’t reveal any of the details yet, but I can say that English is not the only language it will be published in.
As I’ve mentioned before, Children of Fire is classic fantasy. I hate making comparisons to other authors, because I like to think my work has it’s own style and feel. However, I don’t mind listing some of the major influences on my style. Of course you have Lord of the Rings, but I’ll be honest – it feels a bit “dated” to me. The pacing is a bit slow for my taste, and I think my writing more closely reflects the influence of Terry Brooks, David Eddings, George RR Martin and Guy Gavriel Kay.
Like most of my novels, Children of Fire has multiple POV characters, and the line between good and evil is frequently blurred. This isn’t a fairy tale with classic morality; things are messy and muddled. I also put a lot of emphasis on action and moving the plot along. My pet peeve with fantasy is chapter after chapter of wandering down the road, singing songs, looking at flowers and trees and describing every damn meal – I just want to get to the important stuff! (I’m an impatient reader, and I’ve been accused of being an impatient writer… but I am what I am.) I can promise you this – Children of Fire is never boring.
Great, you say, sounds awesome. Love your style. But what is the story actually about?
That’s a fair question, but I’ll answer with a caveat. I think most writers hate the “elevator pitch”. Taking an epic story and boiling it down to a few sentences always diminishes the details that make something memorable. Too often it makes things seem simplistic and derivative. But I understand that people want a brief summary to pique their interest. So, with the understanding that there is a lot more depth to both the story and the characters, here’s a brief “jacket blurb” for the first novel:
The Old Gods are dead, sacrificing themselves to create the Legacy: a magical barrier to protect the mortal world from the fires of Chaos and the legions of Slayer, the once mortal champion who dared to rebel against them. Now, after seven centuries, the Legacy is slowly crumbling. The Order, fanatically devoted servants of the Old Gods, seek to preserve the Legacy and thwart Slayer’s return by brutally stamping out the forces of magic and Chaos that seep into the mortal world. But Chaos cannot be controlled or contained. Across the scattered corners of the land four children are born of suffering and strife, each touched by one aspect of Slayer himself – wizard, warrior, prophet, king. Unaware of their true nature, the Children of Fire are hunted by both the religious zealots of the Order and the minions of Slayer. Cursed by their bloody, violent births, each must do whatever it takes to survive, unaware that one of them holds the key to restoring the Legacy… or to tearing it down.
So there it is; hopefully that teaser is enough to get your interest percolating. As I said before, the first book is already written and we’ve actually just started talking about the cover. We’re bouncing around some concepts, and Random House has picked out an artist… but I can’t really say anymore because nothing has been officially announced. However, as we go into 2013 I’m expecting to have numerous updates to keep you all hooked in.
Okay, I guess that’s it for me. I’ll be back after the holiday season, hopefully refreshed and rejuvenated… unless the Mayans are right.