Since I’m being asked this question many times a day in tones varying from polite interest to downright exasperation, I’m getting the idea that people might appreciate knowing where Kingdom Blades stands in the lengthy process that begins with my transcribing the activities these characters are carrying on in my head and ends with you reading about them in the fourth book in A Pattern of Shadow & Light.
Upon first glance, you could look at this process and say, “Now, Melissa, theoretically this really should not be very complicated.”
And I would say, “Theoretically, I agree with you.”
Then you could say, “You wrote and published the other three books within two years of each other.”
To which I would have to reply, “That’s true.”
So then you’d ask, “What’s taking so bloody long?” which would be a fair question and certainly within your rights of irritation.
So, let me tell you. The good news is book four is nearly finished. The bad news is book four is nearly finished, which is the same as saying not finished in the black and white land of is-book-four-out-and-when-can-I-buy-it?
I can assure you, nearly finished, when my nose is already mashed against the door of a looming deadline, is not a comfortable place to be. It’s even less comfortable knowing you’re all anticipating its release with the hungry eyes of predators at the end of a long, dry summer. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m positively thrilled that so many of you are looking forward to this book. It makes my own dry spells both more endurable and more guilt-ridden, because the urgency to get it out to you weighs on me.
As of this moment, nearly means somewhere on the order of twenty chapters yet to write.
“That’s nothing!” you could say. “You’ve already written, like, eighty!” And if you said this, you’d hit somewhere in the ballpark of truth. But as an organic writer (or a pantser in writer’s vernacular) it means I have only the faintest idea what’s going to happen in most of those chapters. Something could still occur that changes everything. I never really know until I get there.
You might be surprised at how much you and I have in common, dear reader.
Kingdom Blades is also going to be a longer book than the other three by at least 300 manuscript pages, which means probably somewhere around 1000-1200 pages or so in print.
But look, we’re following around seventeen viewpoint characters—Ean, Sebastian, Trell, Alyneri, Gydryn, Viernan, Isabel, Darshan, Pelas, Shail, Tanis, Nadia, Felix, Marius, Franco, Alshiba and Bjorn—and while some of these guys only have a few chapters in the book, and some are really only filling the role of viewpoint character in order to offer a different perspective on the activities of another more primary character, nevertheless, it’s a lot of characters to interweave with each other, and it’s made this a complicated book to write. I’m working very hard to make it not nearly so complicated for you to read.
All of this is to say that it’s taking me longer than I’d hoped (anticipated, made sacrifices to the Muse to gain), and far more chocolate and caffeine than can possibly be healthy, to get this book finished and off to my editors.
I can tell you that I’m truly excited about the territory we’re exploring. Some of it is entirely new territory—dare I say, even perhaps to fantasy as a genre. And that’s very exciting to me.
So all of the preamble leads us to the only question you care about. When is the book going to be out?
My answer: It’s slated for October 2016 publication, and I’m doing everything in my power to make that happen.
That’s about as much as I can say on that front. But I can promise you that this book will not be abridged because of the cost of paper; it won’t be censored by insecurities, sensitivities or prejudices; it won’t be changed to conform to anyone’s expectations, and it will absolutely be as entertaining as I can possibly make it.
My thanks to all of you for your patience, impatience and excitement to read the next installment in A Pattern of Shadow & Light. It really does keep me going through even the darkest moments of “Oh my god, what am I going to do now?” And of course, as soon as I have an exact release date, I’ll post it here.
Leave a comment if you have further questions. I’ll answer as best I can.
P.S. If you’d like to be notified via email of the release date as well as any available advance review copies, sign up for my mailing list. I only email about new releases in the series, never spam.