January 26

Next update February 16

As promised, this update is going to be chock full of information about Children of Fire!

First, let me just say that I realize the update is a day late. But today is my Dad’s birthday, so by pushing things back one day I don’t have to buy him a present. (That’s how it works, right?)

Incidentally, my Dad’s birthday is the same day as Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all time. Growing up in Edmonton, I had the pleasure of watching Gretzky during his Oiler years… maybe that’s why I don’t enjoy hockey anymore. I was spoiled by an era when goaltending equipment allowed each team to average 4-5 goals per game; now the average is about half that. There’s just not enough scoring for me anymore.

However, watching the Oilers play did inspire me to one of my first writing projects. It was called “Gretzky with the Puck”, a ten year old Canadian boy’s take on Casey with the Bat. It earned me an A in school, and my dad got Wayne Gretzky to sign the poem for me. I still have it somewhere. (FYI, unlike the original Casey at the Bat, in my version the home team wins.)

Okay, enough indulgent rambling about days of yore. Onto Children of Fire! I’m proud to say we finally have official release dates for both the UK version and the North American version. Originally the plan was to wait until the first and second books were done, then releasing them at the same time – probably in 2014. Well, things change.

I’m happy to officially announce that across the pond the book is being published by Del Rey, an imprint of eBury and Random House, on September 5, 2013. Here back home, the book is also being published by Del Rey/Random House on September 10, 2013. So why is it a few days earlier in the UK? I don’t know… time zones or something, I guess.

I’ve mentioned my agent, Ginger Clark over at Curtis Brown Ltd., before. But I want to give another shout-out to her for everything she’s done to help me get Children of Fire published. And she’s not done yet, folks! We’re in talks with several other publishers about a number of non-English versions; as Ginger closes these deals I’ll be making announcements about the foreign editions on my Twitter feed and on this website.

Ginger isn’t the only one I’ve been working with lately. I’ve had two great editors – Tricia Narwani in the US and Michael Rowley in the UK – helping make Children of Fire the best it can be.

Michael is an Englishman through and through – born in Liverpool, lives in Lancashire. He has a BA in English and History and an MA from Liverpool University in Science Fiction studies. He came to Del Rey UK in 2011, where he was editor on the just released Mark Hodder novel A Red Sun Also Rises.  

Tricia and I have actually worked together before; she was the editor on Mass Effect: Revelation and Mass Effect: Ascension. She’s also worked with authors such as Kevin Hearne, Peter V. Brett and Robert V.S. Redick.

As I’ve said before, Children of Fire is the first book in my own original fantasy series. The second book, The Scorched Earth, will be coming out in 2014. And Chaos Unleashed, the third novel, will probably be coming in 2015. Here’s the dust jacket summary for Children of Fire:

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.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: authors hate giving the “elevator pitch” of their books. The things that make a novle unique are the characters, the details and the author’s style, and those don’t really come across in this kind of summary – it can make things sound a bit generic. If you like my other books, you’re going to like Children of Fire. 

Like most of my novels, Children of Fire has multiple POV characters, and the line between good and evil is frequently blurred. There’s a strong emphasis on action and moving the plot forward; I don’t spend a lot of time describing the elaborate feast at somebody’s hall, or detailing the trees and flowers as characters wander through the woods. And none of my characters will ever recite a poem from some lost and forgotten age. I know some fantasy fans enjoy that; maybe it draws them into the world. But I want to draw you in with compelling characters doing cool stuff; I want to keep the pace moving.

A common reaction to my novles from fans is, “I loved it, but it was too short”. I sort of take that as a compliment; it means I didn’t bog things down with anything unnecessary. Having said that, Children of Fire is much longer than any of my previous works. My Mass Effect books were roughly 80,000 words in length. My Star Wars novels were roughly 100,000. But Children of Fire is about 150,000 words. It’s still what I consider a tight, fast-paced book… there’s just a lot going on. In other words, you’re going to get your money’s worth.

Okay, I guess that’s about it for this update. I’m off to Vegas next week for the Super Bowl. Haven’t really picked a horse in this one yet; all the teams I cheer for have crashed and burned. Leaning towards the ‘Niners, I guess. Maybe being devoid of emotional investment means my pick is based on logic… or not.