Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Publication Week!

For anyone who hasn't noticed (i.e. most of the world's 6.5 billion population), Friday sees the long-awaited--by me, at least--of
The Dog of the North. I have my signing paws on, decided which line I'm going to use for 'signing and lining', and allowed myself not to worry about the current work in progress for a few days. On Thursday I'll be making my first public appearance, at the Pallant House Art Book Club in Chichester. Waterstones now has a picture of me in the window and somehow has sold two copies of the book even though it isn't out yet (ask if they have some "behind the counter", apparently, and rootling in the stockroom will see copies ferreted out).

There are plenty of strange and exciting things about the imminent publication. One of the oddest is working on another book at the same time: at the moment I'm answering lots of questions about
The Dog of the North while simultaneously trying to smooth the development of The Last Free City (for which I've now devised but not yet written a new opening scene, making the antagonist a much more dangerous and darkly attractive character). The complexity is magnified by bringing forward one of the characters from The Dog of the North into the new work.

For those of you who enjoy closure and consistency--you're in the wrong place... Nonetheless, to tie up a couple of loose ends from previous blogs:

I've finished my re-read of
The Last Free City first draft. Some bits need expanding, some scenes duplicate each other; some are underwritten and others, clearly necessary, are missing altogether. The last 15,000 words are probably beyond salvage, and one of my Shakespeare homages (a cross-dressing scene) makes me tremble at my own ineptitude. So far, so discouraging. To compensate, a couple of the scenes seem to me to work extremely well, the relationship between 'hero' and 'heroine' (neither term is strictly appropriate) has a nice dynamic after a hamfisted start, and the subplots fit together neatly enough. Taken in the round, there's something to work with here, although the second draft will need more extensive revisions than usual (and I may make some of the structural changes before I write the last section).

Recent blogs have also featured Joe Abercrombie's "First Law" trilogy, the last instalment of which I have now read. Without giving too much away, the darkness of Abercrombie's vision remains unilluminated to the end, and the conclusion is neither happy nor unhappy, but highly appropriate. In enduring books, characters are often remembered more vividly than plots, and Abercrombie has characters in spades. The torturer Glokta remains my favourite, with echoes of Gene Wolfe's Severian and GRR Martin's Tyrion Lannister (although beholden to neither). Logen Ninefingers, the barbarian berserker, achieves a melancholy ripening across the series, as well as a neatly judged epilogue. These are wonderful books for those who enjoy fantasy in flavours other than vanilla: if your tastes run in this direction you will not be disappointed.

Nonetheless, Mr Abercrombie has his own blog for the promotion of his work, so we will say no more of him here today. The book you should all be buying this week is "
a spellbinding tale of loyalty and betrayal, homeland and exile, set in a brilliantly imagined world of political intrigue, sorcery, and warfare on an epic scale". And that' the objective opinion of my publisher, so who can argue?


David Isaak said...

I'm sure your publisher is spot on!

Alis said...

I got a rush of the excitement I felt at the same stage with Testament from reading this post, Tim! Enjoy the week and especially the 'book spotting' in bookshops once publication date's passed - it's astonishing what seeing your book on the shelves like all the 'real writers'' books does to your insides!

Tim Stretton said...

Alis, it was exciting enough walking past Waterstones and seeing two copies in the window as part of the display!