First of the Second

And we’re done!  I finished the first book of my new series earlier this week.

One thing that I’ve always found a little amusing about my writing is the way in which I just barely hit deadlines.  It didn’t happen every time with the Alex Verus series, but I did finish several of the books the exact day before my contract said that I was due to send them in, to the point where I started thinking that it probably wasn’t a coincidence.  In the case of this book, the personal deadline I set for myself was “end of January”, and I finished the last sentence of the last chapter at 11:53pm on January 31st.  I think I have some weird mental thing where my mind subconsciously calculates how much time I’ll need and spends every bit of its “budget”.

Writing this book has been a very strange feeling.  I wrote the first draft of the Alex Verus book, Fated, in 2008.  Since then, my writing career has involved the Alex Verus series and nothing else, meaning that this is the first time in 13 to 14 years (depending how you count it) that I’ve written a novel that wasn’t an Alex Verus one.  I did actually wonder while I was getting ready to start whether I’d even be able to do it at all (I was worried that I might have gotten so used to writing a divination mage that I’d forgotten how to write any other way), but as it turned out, it went just fine – putting myself into the shoes of a different protagonist felt very natural.

This book’s definitely been harder work than usual, though.  I wrote about my decision to start a new series a few months ago, and one of the points from there that I’ve been reminded of a lot is that a new series means starting from scratch.  When you’re a few books into a series, you have a lot of background, setting detail, and (most of all) characters that you can draw on.  For a new series, you have to make up EVERYTHING – it’s been a long time since I’ve done this, and the last few months have reminded me of just how much work it is.  Still, it’s done now!

The next stage is going to be dealing with my publishers – unlike the Alex Verus books, this novel is un-contracted for, and in publication limbo.  I think I should have something agreed reasonably soon, though.  As soon as I have a publication date, I’ll let you guys know.

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End of a Beginning

Busy with the final scenes of the new book.  I’ve been working on this one pretty obsessively for the past few weeks now, and I’ll be very glad when it’s done.

Word count’s at a bit over my usual 90,000, but (as often happens these days) the book’s turning out to be a little longer than expected.  I’ll write a proper update once I’m finally there.

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Alex Verus #7 in Germany

My author copies of the German edition of Alex Verus #7 finally arrived today.  A little late (the book was released late last year), but I thought I’d share a picture anyway just as a reminder that while the English editions of the Alex Verus series might be completed, the German ones are still coming out at regular intervals!

My German publisher’s current plan is to keep bringing them out every six months, so you can expect books #8 and #9 this year, books #10 and #11 in 2023, and the final volume in #2024.

For my part, I’m still working away on the last couple of chapters of the new book.  I’m pretty sick at the moment, which is slowing me down, but I really want to finish it by the end of the month if at all possible.

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Ask Luna #180

From: Celia

Hi Luna! I was wondering, back when Alex and Anne were having their little issue with Zilean and Lightbringer, did Alex ever tell Morden about the problem? If he didn’t, why not? If he did, what was Morden’s response to the information? Not sure if this would fall under what Morden would have regarded as a “personal problem” for Alex to solve. Or perhaps Alex telling Morden would have made Alex seem weak?

I don’t know if Alex brought it up to Morden specifically, but Morden absolutely knew that Alex and Anne were going to be getting that kind of attention – the way I heard it, he pretty much spelled it out to them on their first day.  So Alex would have had to have been REALLY desperate to go to Morden for help, given that Morden had made it pretty clear that (a) he was expecting this to happen, (b) he didn’t care much, and (c) he thought it was Alex and Anne’s problem, not his.

From: Oliver

Dear Luna,
Will you still talk to us on Ask Luna after the events of Risen are published? If not, I hope it’s not because someone manages to get past the luck curse.

Sure, now and then.  I’m a lot busier now, though, so it’s harder and harder to find the time.  Maybe I ought to get my own assistant.

From: Alex

Hello Luna,
I was wondering if you maybe know how Lyle and Alex became friends back when they were apprentices? It always surprised me that a Light mage apprentice like Lyle who had a clear career plan would become friends with a Dark Mages apprentices and it was never really stated in the books, how they met and grew close to each other.

No clue, sorry.  I never cared much about Lyle and I never found him interesting enough to ask Alex questions about him.  He just seemed like such a standard Council stick-in-the-mud.

From: Dave

Hello, Luna.

I’d like to know how rare some forms of magic actually are. I know that in terms of magic families it goes Elemental -> Living -> Universal, from common to rare.

Since magic is in part determined by personality, the statistics of magic distribution are really fascinating to me. Do you happen to know roughly what are the most common and most rare magic types within each family?

I think the proportions are something like 55%-60% elemental, 25%-30% living, and 10%-15% universal.  The exact numbers vary by country and on how you count them (a lot of mages are sort of in-between the families, so there’s a lot of argument about where you draw the line).

Fire mages are the most common elementalists, in living it’s a close race between three or four different types, and the most common universal ones are time and then space.

From: Koldo

Hello Luna,

I know you have complained about the political questions you are asked but I hope this one is not so obscure. What are the politics like for adepts? Do they follow the Dark and Light divide or focus on other issues? Do they have organized political groups like the mundane world?

Thank you again for your time in reading this and answering all of our questions.

It works very differently for adepts – they don’t have the political parties that mages do.  Much looser and less formal, and they’re less politically engaged than mages are.  With adepts it tends to come down more to what movement they sympathise with, or what organisation they’re a member of, or what company they keep.

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What’s Next for 2022

It’s a new year!  Here are my writing plans for the next few months.

My first and highest priority is finishing my new book.  For those who don’t know, this is the first volume in a new urban fantasy series that I’m hoping to be working on for most of this decade.  The first draft is currently up to 80,000 words, which includes a fair bit of edits and rewrites.  I’d been hoping to have the book finished by the end of December – unfortunately the rewrites took longer than I’d hoped, so the new deadline I’ve set myself is the end of January, and I’m going to push myself to try to make this one (I really want this book completed so that I can get the publication train rolling).  The good news is that I’m pretty pleased with the book and the setting, so I think there’s a good chance that you guys will like it too!

Once that’s done I’m planning on writing a second Alex Verus short story/novella.  This one is going to be set after Risen, as a sort of minor epilogue to the series, and will focus on one particular character who had some larger-than-usual question marks hanging over them at the end of the book.  I’ll probably do the bulk of this in February, and I’ll publish it online shortly afterward, in a similar way to what I did with Favours.

On the website front, the next two posts will be a couple of Ask Lunas – I’ve got a backlog of questions which I’d like to clear out.  I’m still planning on running the Ask Luna column for a while long, but I’m intending to gradually taper it off over the course of this year.  Now that the main series is finished, the series timeline isn’t progressing in parallel with the real-world timeline any more.

Somewhere along the line I also need to do the Author Commentary for Risen.  This’ll probably take a while, firstly because it’s going to be a long one, and secondly because I’m still getting some interesting feedback on Risen from the reviews I’m reading.  Some of them make me realise things about the book that I hadn’t previously thought about.

And finally, I need to catch up on my email.  Thanks to everyone who’s written in following the publication of Risen and the end of the series, both in email and in comment form.  Most of the emails have consisted of fans saying very nice things about me, Risen, and the Alex Verus series in general, so thank you all for the praise!  I’ll try to reply to them all properly when I get a moment, but I wanted you to know that I really appreciate the messages.  I’m glad so many of you have enjoyed the series so much!

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Happy New Year!

Well, it’s finally the end of 2021.  It’s been a big year for my writing – finished the Alex Verus series at the beginning of the year, saw Risen published (and the series completed) at the end, wrote and self-published my first ever novella.  And in between those things, I started and (mostly) finished the first book in what I still intend to be my main series for the 2020s.

I’ve got various plans for 2022, but I’ll go into those more next Friday – the first post of January will be a ‘state of the author’ update where I’ll tell you guys what I’ve got planned for the first couple of months of 2022.  Until then, have a happy New Year’s, and hope the end of the year goes well for you all, too!

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Merry Christmas!

Not too much news this week.  I’m busy working on the rewrite of my new book, which should be done in the next few days – after that I’ll get to work on the last section.  I’m still aiming to be done by end of January.

Hope you all have a good Christmas (eve)!

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End of the Year

With my AMA and all the other release-related activities done, things are now winding down for the end of the year.

The one drawback with things like AMAs and other publicity events is that they take up a lot of time – now that they’re done, expect things to be quiet around here for the rest of the year as I spend the next few weeks focusing on my new book.  Actually, I’ll probably spending more time than that – my hope is to get it finished by end of January, which is six weeks away.

The good news is that while I haven’t done much writing in the past couple of months, I’ve spent a lot of time planning and thinking, and now I’m pretty sure I know how the book’s going to be structured and how the ending will go.  So while the book might overrun a little bit, I doubt it’ll overrun all that much.

In terms of publication, I’ve had offers for the series from both the UK/worldwide and from the US/Canada markets.  Contracts are still under negotiation though.

Expect fairly brief posts for the next couple of weeks as I’ll be busy with Christmas/New Year things and spending all my free time on writing.  After that, I’ve still got a bunch of Ask Luna questions that need answering, and I’m planning some time in January to do the Author Commentary for Risen.  And at the end of the month, I’ll hopefully be able to tell you guys that the book is done and give you some idea of what’s coming next!

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Reddit AMA is done!

My AMA on r/fantasy is finished!  Thanks to everyone who came – I really enjoyed it, even if I spent pretty much all of yesterday answering questions!

I really need to get back to my writing now, but I’ll try to answer any more questions that filter in over the next few hours.  See you next time!

Posted in Events, Interviews | 4 Comments

Reddit AMA is live!

My Reddit AMA is now live!  I’ll be answering questions on the Reddit Fantasy sub for the next 24 hours.

Link to the AMA thread is here.

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