Dear Wonderful Readers,
One of the things I have struggled with the most lately is taking my time on writing projects. There’s a definite advantage to writing quickly, especially since readers can finish a many-months-long project in a couple of days, and I want to give you all the stories you want to see, from Light & Shadow to Mahalia’s world, Haven (the final book in the Novum trilogy), and more! I want to do it now. Today. All at once. I had grand plans, when I quit my day job, of working 16 hours per day, 7 days per week. “Aha,” I said to myself. “Since I was able to write other books while I had a day job, surely it will be easy to work on freelance projects 10 hours per day while simultaneously speeding up my own production to one book per month!”
There was just the small problem (a teeny tiny problem, really) that this was a completely absurd plan. Yes, I would love to have all of the books I mentioned above done today – it’s just as much fun for me to write them as it is for you to read them! I love immersing myself in those worlds and learning new things about the characters. But the truth is, if I rein in my impatient nature and allow those stories to breathe, they become even more wonderful, and I can do things that I have never done before.
My new series, Battlemage, is a wonderful example of this. It tied together narrative threads and characters that I had wanted to use for ages, but that hadn’t found their story yet. I knew that I wanted to use a world that involved pseudo-European cultures, but that deeply explored Arab and Persian cultures as well, showing the incredible wealth of scientific, medical, and philosophical advances of the Islamic Golden Age. I don’t know as much about the Islamic Golden Age as I do about medieval Europe and Tudor England, however, and it became clear to me as I wrote that the world was deeply lacking.
…to make a long story short, I now have a two-foot-tall stack of books on my dining room table, and the world of Battlemage is coming alive as I immerse myself in poetry, literature, history, and science. (Related: reference librarians are the coolest people in the world.) The melting pot of languages and cultures that called to me has come so much more alive than it would have if I had forced myself to keep writing without taking the time to read.
And so I am reading. I am taking copious notes, quotes and poem fragments interspersed with plot details, scenes emerging from the history portrayed. I am so excited to see the changes that ripple through the plot. Characters whose motivations were heretofore unclear to me have come into sharp focus, their stories poignant and gripping.
I just wrote, “I cannot wait to share this world with you.” The truth is, though, that I have to. It’s all still coming into focus. For it to be the world that it should be, as rich and engrossing as I want it to be, I have to allow it to breathe and to grow. As Robin McKinley so eloquently said, “every once upon a time for me is another experience of white-water rafting in a leaky inner tube.” One never knows, when the muse calls, just what each project is going to require: what darkness and honesty, what grief, what surprising humor, what craft. Each story brings a thousand new little skills to master.
I am so, so excited to share it all with you. As a deeply impatient person, this has been a trying experience in some ways – but it is going to be a fantastic story.