On Tuesday, 24 November, my novel The Shards of Heaven will at long last be released. Pre-orders will arrive on doorsteps. Copies will be in stores. Over seven years since I finished it, the book will officially be born.
A number of folks have asked me this week how it feels to be so near the Big Event, and my honest answer would have to be this: Finally.
The release has been circled on my calendar for close to a year, you see. Yes, it’s shifted a bit — November 17, then November 10, now at last and for sure November 24 — but it’s always been a light at the end of the tunnel, and it has often seemed like it would never get here.
For the past year there’s been the general anxiousness about a big event, of course, but more than that, this year has been brutal. Even setting aside a rather enormous upheaval in my personal life, 2015 saw me finish a major academic book (The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook), make final edits to Shards, work on the maps for the book, pound through a high volume of publicity materials (over 20,000 words of it at last count), and start and finish the 103,000-word sequel to Shards … all while still trying to do my day-job of being a professor. It’s been rough.
I remember asking Pat Rothfuss, just hours after selling the Shards Trilogy, what advice he would give to someone who had just sold a novel. He didn’t even hesitate. “Book Two will fuck up your life,” he said.
And so it did. Or at least so my life was — whether the book was to blame or not.
I’m not writing all this in need of pity or kudos or anything of the sort. As hard as this year was, I’m also pleased to say that it was full of incomparable joys. And I’m well aware that through it all I am living to see my dream come true of seeing my first novel hit the shelves. Plus, im happy to say, Book Two turned out amazing.
The point I’m after in going through all this is to say that I’m meeting Tuesday with a relief I cannot adequately express. November 24 will mark the beginning of the life of the novel (go little book!). But it will also mark the closing of one long chapter in my life and the beginning of another.
That’s the way of things, of course: when one door closes, another opens. So it always seems to be, and this Tuesday will be no exception.
What will this next chapter in my life bring?
I can’t yet know for certain — though I can tell you that I started writing Book Three today.
Order-Boost-Review: The Shards of Heaven. Tor Books. November 2015.