So just a little heads-up hint of goodness to come:
It looks like the lovely folks at Random House will be sending me out on tour again, not just once but twice! I was certainly hoping there would be a Shadow Scale tour, come springtime – and there will be – but it looks like I may also have an opportunity to tour in early February to promote the North American paperback release of Seraphina. I will be posting dates and cities once I know them for sure. There are some exciting place-names floating around, but I don’t want to break anyone’s heart by telling you before it’s carved in stone.
Seraphina comes out in paperback on December 23rd. You can pre-order it already, of course. You may be thinking that we’re cutting it a bit close for Christmas, but I believe the hope is that when people go shopping after Christmas — returning things they don’t want, or spending gift cards — that there she’ll be, all shiny and new. The paperback has some new material: an author Q&A, authors who influenced me, a list of music I listened to while writing, a study guide. I understand there are some copies coming my way, so I’ll tell you more when I’ve got the book in hand.
I suppose that’s all the news for now, unless you want to hear about how my apartment flooded. I’m not sure I’m ready to tell that story yet, but I will just say: if you hear the sound of rain coming from inside your closet, it’s best to find the source of the noise right away. It’s really not supposed to be raining in there.
Do you ever find yourself wishing you could see R2D2 and the Hulk dressed in Renaissance Flemish clothing? Well, now you can.
That is almost certainly more than enough damage to your retinas for one day.
As we were leaving the Chan Centre last night, my husband said to me, “Well, I know what you’re going to be blogging about tomorrow.”
“Nuh-uh!” I said (mature as ever). “I am not that predictable!”
But it turns out I am, especially if you’ve been married to me for like, a billion years.
So! We are huge fans of Iarla O’Lionaird, so went to see his new band, The Gloaming, last night. It is probably not quite accurate to call it his band; the other musicians, especially the fiddler Martin Hayes, are well-known and accomplished in their own right. It’s like a supergroup of Irish musicians, and they were just wonderful. They draw on the traditional repertoire of reels and the lesser-known (on this side of the pond, anyway) sean-nós tradition, but they also compose their own songs around old Irish poems. It was wonderfully old and startlingly new, all at once.
Here’s a (longish) bit to get you started: “The Opening Set,” with which they ended the concert, of course. It was my favourite, and it has everything, the oddball pianist (who was wonderful, and I am not a fan of piano generally), Iarla singing like an angel, and fiddling to set the roof on fire.
The second fiddler is playing an instrument called a Hardanger fiddle, which is like a combination violin, viola, and instrument of pure awesome. As a former string player myself, I was particularly enamoured of his bowing, how he wasn’t afraid to go all breathy and squeaky and light, or conversely to land hard and crunch the string.
We went early and attended an interview with Iarla O’Lionaird and Martin Hayes, which was fun. They teased each other like old friends, which gave some clue as to how they’d work together on stage. Something Hayes said really struck me: that when they were choosing their second fiddle player, it wasn’t technical brilliance they were looking for but ideas.
That’s what I look for, too, in music and in writing — the mind behind the art. I like to see the striving and trying; I like it a little bit messy, honestly. This insight gave me things to look for and think about during the concert — how the musicians responded to each other, what role each one was playing, what they were doing to the reels (unreeling them, sometimes).
They played one encore. I would have sat through ten more, but it’s probably just as well that they didn’t play that many. My son, in the absence of thrash guitar, had melted into a puddle of boredom by the end and was oozing off his chair onto the floor. So the concert was not universally beloved by our entire family. Still, if you like Irish music and have a chance to hear them, I urge you to take it. I believe I was grinning ridiculously the entire time.
A thing! I just reached 30K words, which suggests it may be bookish, this thing.
The work is going swimmingly so far, which is why I haven’t been talking about it much. I am still utterly convinced of my November jinx, despite 13 days of evidence to the contrary. (THIRTEEN DAYS! Now I’ve done it!)
However, I asked my lovely in-house editor whether I may announce this in some way, and she said yes, so here goes: I get to write two more books set in Seraphina’s world! The working title for the first one is TESS IN BOOTS. Obviously that might change. I anticipate another duology, but that could also change, if it turns out Tess can be all contained in one book. I sort of doubt it, the way things are going right now, but then again, this stage of crafting is less like writing and more like coughing up hairballs.
How’s that for a glamorous image? Ah, the writing life! I hurk all day and gag all night.
Seriously, though, I’m having fun, which may be the very most shocking thing of all. I was burned out for so long I’d forgotten what that’s like, and I was also a little bit worried that once there was an actual deal, actual numbers and expectations, that the weight of that would descend on me again. So far, however, it has not.
Weirder still: I don’t think it’s going to. This book is different. I feel like this book is already written, like some part of me has been working on it for years and all I’m doing now is discovering the pieces. It will still take some effort and ingenuity to fit them together; I’m certain there are unforeseen frustrations yet to come, brand new headaches I’ve never had before.
Doesn’t matter. Bring it, I say. Remind me I said that when I’m grousing later on, would you?
I am particularly intrigued by the tagline, which translates as: Everyone lies. You, too.
In North America, by contrast, Random House used: Can one girl unite two worlds?
The Italian edition says: The girl with the heart of a dragon.
Now I kind of want to go through and make a study of these! It’s always interesting to me how many different angles one can take on a single work.
Anyway, I’m eager for this one. I corresponded quite a bit with the translator, who impressed me as a smart and conscientious person. I may even try to read it; I studied Spanish from junior high all the way through university, and I was (at the height of my powers) reading Cervantes and García Márquez. I’m twenty years out of practice, but I’m pretty sure the words all still live in my head somewhere.
Here we are again, at the month I love to hate, when the days grow dark and the intractable rain sets in and there isn’t even Thanksgiving (here in Canada-land) to break up the gloom.
Last year I proclaimed it the True and Holy Month of Nothing, which went really well. I hope to loaf a little less aggressively this year, however, because I have something I want to work on and I’m not nearly as burned out.
And hey, the month is off to an auspicious start! Suspiciously auspicious, if you ask me. I am ever sceptical of November’s motives. I had an excellent writing morning, however, and then it was so sunny (contrary to November’s usual practice) that we all went for a bike ride. We found a delicious tapas place for dinner. Can’t ask for better than that.
Does November get you down? Well, pull up a rock beside the fire. I’m planning on toasting marshmallows and singing stupid songs all month long.
If you haven’t seen the We Need Diverse Books funding campaign yet, please go check it out, and I hope you will be inspired to contribute. They’re more than halfway to their goal, but there’s still plenty of time for you to get in on the action.
While we’re on the subject, here’s an article on “The Thorny Issue of Race,” intended specifically for NaNoWriMo participants, but useful for anyone interested in writing stories incorporating different races, ethnicities, and cultures.