Ask Luna #99

From: Malachi

Are certain mage hybrids impossible?
Like a hybrid between a Fire & Ice mage or a Diviner & Probability mage?

I don’t know if they’re actually impossible, but there are lots of combos that I’ve never ever heard of. Those two would be some of them. I get the feeling that the personality traits to be one rather than the other might be so contradictory that you’d never get both together.

From: Craig Belcher

Hello Luna,
Did Alex build a mansion or cottage in The Hollow shadow realm? It would be the ultimate safe house. That is until the dryad emerges from her cocoon.

‘Mansion’ is overselling it a bit. It’s more like a pre-fab hut. He’s expanding it though. I have a little den as well, but I prefer my flat.

From: Hazel

Hey Luna, thanks for asking my questions. I have a few more for you if you don’t mind.
You said magic sort of shows itself when you go through puberty, does that mean girls get their magic earlier then boys? I know that it varies from person to person but the average of girls start earlier than boys. Does this mean that girls get apprenticed earlier or is it generally after you have finished school?
Does Vari and Anne know about Martin wishing for Alex’s magic?
If Martin had kept Alex’s magic, how do you imagine Alex reacting?
At that point in time I mean, Alex has grown quite fair mile since then. If Alex had lost his magic but stayed alive, do you think he would have ever gotten it back? Alex once said that if you really want your magic to go away, it will with time. Does it work the other way around? Do you think Alex could live without his magic?
Does Vari have a mage name?
If not money, what do Liaisons and Keepers get paid? Why do they stay at their jobs? Is it for power?

Girls tend to start showing their magic slightly earlier, yeah, but it doesn’t seem to have much effect on average apprentice age for whatever reason.

We’ve told Anne and Vari the general story, though I wasn’t too specific on the details. I’m pretty sure Alex doesn’t want to revisit those particular memories and I don’t think I came out of the whole business looking all that great either.

I’m pretty sure that losing his magic would have left Alex dead, crazy, or both, so I don’t have many answers for you as far as that goes.

Yup, Vari has a mage name.

Liaisons and Keepers get paid a salary, yeah, though I doubt it’s a big motivator. Why they stay in their jobs . . . well, they enjoy it, presumably, and the power’s probably part of that. But there’s also perks. You get a lot of side benefits from being part of the Council’s enforcement divisions, and some of those benefits are the kind that you can’t buy with cash.

From: Bruce Donohue

Hello Luna,
I don’t know if anyone else thought about this theory or not but I will let it fly anyway…

After re-reading all the books and all the little hints here and there, my theory is that Richard is Alex’s real Father.

Oh please god no.

From: Eric Fluellen

Hello, how are you doing I was wondering as I’m reading through your books I sometimes get the feeling that this entire series has already happened, as though Alex is telling his memoir to a reporter of some sort, would comment please.

No, you guys hear about stuff as it happens, though there’s a time lag of a couple years or so. If the stories ever stop it probably means something bad’s happened.

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New Year News

And I’m back!  A few bits of news to catch up on now that I’m back in the country.  

First, Bound has been nominated for the RT Awards, under Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding. I don’t think I’ve ever been nominated for an award before, and the RT ones are fairly big, so this is pretty cool.  

Second, the proofs for Marked have been scheduled for the end of the month.  Once that’s done the book will be locked in ready for its July release date.  

Book #10’s still underway – it’s going slower than I’d like, but it’s making progress.  Hoping to have it finished by the summer.  

And finally, we have a US cover for Marked to go along with the UK one!  Here it is:

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from everyone in the Alex Verus world!

I’m out of the country at present, and won’t be returning until a couple of weeks into January.  Posts will resume on the 19th.  

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Merry Christmas!

Wow, looking at the URL, I just realised that this is the fifth time I’ve made a post like this.  It’s been a busy five years.  Hope your Christmas goes well, and I’ll see you after the holidays!

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Copy-Edits Again

Just finishing up the copy-edits for book #9, Marked.  They’re close to done at the time of writing, so by the time you read this, they might very well be complete.  Copy-edits are the last point at which I make significant changes to the book:  once they’re done, the version I send back to my publisher is 99% identical to the version you’ll have in your hands when it finally comes out.  (If you’re curious as to what copy-edits are, I wrote about it here.)

Copy-edits take a while to do, but fortunately they’re relatively easy work and much less stressful than writing or rewriting.  I’ve enjoyed doing them this time – it’s been fun to read back through Marked and see the changes.  I think you guys should enjoy reading this one once it comes out!  

Release date for Marked is July 5th 2018 in the US and UK.

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Ask Luna #98

From: Fade

Why is Alex so vehemently against the title of Dark Mage? Every time somebody labels him with it, he denies it vehemently, but it seems to me that Alex does abide by the principles pretty extensively, determined to live his life my his own terms rather than those that anybody (the council) would impose on him. I understand that he has had a lot of negative experiences at the hands of Dark Mages, but isn’t the over all philosophy to maintain the freedom to direct one’s own life? Alex once criticized Talisid for the mentality: Light mages good, Dark mages bad! But it seems that Alex draws the same sorts of lines, at least on the dark side of the fence.

Probably because he rejected the whole Dark philosophy in a big way personally and so doesn’t like getting associated with it. Though he does seem to be getting less vehement about it than he used to. Either he’s changed his mind or he’s just tired of repeating it. Your guess is as good as mine as to which.

From: Hazel

Hey, Luna. I was wondering if Alex has ever mentioned his mum? I know it took a long time to even get to his dad, who we know is still alive, but maybe he talked about her?

I know she’s still alive, but I don’t know much more than that. I think he said something about her not being English, but that’s about it. I got the impression that his relationship with her might be even worse than with his dad if anything. Still, not like I’m in any position to throw stones as far as that goes.

From: Malachi

Why did the Light Council(or just a sect of them) devote so much time and resources towards trying to kill Alex?
Sure, he was legally supposed to be executed. But isn’t he kind of a low priority target if he’s somewhere really far away?
I don’t know; Just seemed like a waste of resources that could be put towards actual pressing threats.

How the hell are we supposed to know? You think death squads show up at your front door with an audit or something? “Hi, Miss Mancuso, we’re here to execute you, please take a look at this cost accounting for our time and sign the receipt.” Whoever was behind it, it was obviously a high enough priority for them.

From: Malachi

Are certain mage hybrids impossible?
Like a hybrid between a Fire & Ice mage or a Diviner & Probability mage?

Well, the Council seems to think so anyway. There are a bunch of magic types that supposedly can’t be mixed, and yes, fire and ice are among them. But then, some fire mages can lower temperature as well as raise it, so I’ve got the feeling some of those ‘impossible’ hybrids might only be ‘impossible’ for very specific definitions.

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Off Again

And here we go again.  Alex Verus #10 is underway as of today.  

Target date for completion of the first draft is June 2018.  Given how late the last one was, I’m not sure if I’m going to make it, but I’ll do my best.  I do have a clearer idea of what I’m doing than I did when I was starting Alex Verus #9, so there’s that.  

I wonder how many more times I’ll be opening up a new text file and typing ‘Alex Verus’ in the title page?  At least twice more after this one, but probably not very many beyond that . . .

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How Many Alex Verus Books Will There Be?

This was something that was asked a couple of times in relation to my last post, (and has been asked lots more times in the past) and I figured it deserved its own post to answer. 

The short answer is that the series is more than half done.  The Alex Verus books that are out there right now are most of the ones that there ever will be.  This isn’t an absolute 100% guarantee (since I haven’t planned everything out in that kind of detail) but I’m almost sure that Fated through Bound will outnumber the rest of the series.  Call it ninety percent certain.  

Nailing down an exact number is harder.  I know what’s going to happen in Book #10, and I have vague plans for Book #11, but I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen beyond then.  That said, I don’t think all the books ‘beyond then’ will add up to very many.  Book #10 will leave the series in an unstable position, to the extent that it won’t really be possible to keep things going for all that long afterwards.  If I had to make a guess, I’d say #13 will be the last, but I might be underestimating.  We’ll see.  

In any case, don’t expect the series to go on forever!  I might be wrong on the exact numbers, but I’m pretty sure about the overall shape.  So the total might be 12, or 14, but it’s not going to be 16 or 20.  That’s the best guess I have at the moment.

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Currently planning out Book #10.  

I’m looking forward to this book.  In a lot of ways it’s going to be the big turning point of the series – not the end, but the last major set of reveals/dramatic changes before the end. By the time the book’s done, all the major characters in the series should have been established, and it’ll be clear who’s on who’s side for the final battles.  

Book #10’s also going to resolve a lot of long-running sideplots and things that have been hinted at.  One of the more common questions that I get asked is whether Alex is ever going to get some sort of power-up.  That’s going to get addressed in a final way, along with Alex’s relationship status and the question of what Richard’s been planning all this time.  To the best of my knowledge no-one has yet correctly guessed the answers to any of these questions (or if they have, they haven’t put it online where I can see it) so it’s going to be a lot of fun to finally get it out there.

The downside to all this is that doing all these resolutions is going to be a LOT of work.  Since Book #10 builds on so much previous material, it’s going to have an enormous amount of references to past books. I’m actually considering going back to drawing out diagrams just to keep track of everything. Well, we’ll see how it goes.

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Edits are Done

The first-round edits on Book #9, Marked, are finished.  There are still copy-edits and proofreader corrections to do, but they’re relatively minor – the version of the book that I sent off to my publishers yesterday is 95% identical with the version that you guys will get hold of when it’s released in July of next year.  

Time to start planning Book #10. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, so let’s hope it goes a bit faster than the last one did!

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