The last installment of the Obernewtyn series, The Sending, isn’t far from being released. How difficult is it to close a series that’s been with you for so long?Edited Sat Oct 09 2010, 09:36AM
Further away than my fans or publisher like. It was supposed to come out this year, but I found I just could not work when the book was scheduled and everyone was hanging on me to finish. It was like trying to work in a room where people were shouting at you that you were going to miss the bus. Luckily, Penguin have been able to bear with me and have eased the pressure, so the book will be coming out next year. They will make an announcement about it, but I think the word might already be out, and my name’s probably mud. I know some writers can deliver a book exactly when they say they will, but I honestly don’t know how that is possible. For me, a book is a journey and I don’t know how long it will take. I have a map, but it is sparse and there are so many things to see and learn and explore before I find what I set out to find. I write in order to think and that means I don’t know how long it will take me to figure it out. I think of it as a very organic process, but that might be a nice way to say utterly disorganized. The thing it that whatever word you apply, that is how I work and if people like the stories I write, then they have to allow me the means to get them.
I do think there is a bit of a perception that I am spinning it out or that I am unable to close. Neither is true. Despite the size of the books, I really have to work to get everything in each one and I cut and cut and cut to do it. They are absolutely not padded. I imagine padding would be such a boring thing to have to do. Cutting is hard work but incredibly satisfying, and it is balanced with elaborating and clarifying, because the stories are all very complex. For me, the process of editing does not happen after the book is finished but is part of the whole creative process. Sometimes this has meant publishers have felt I am close to done when I know I am not. But I do know where this series is going and the last book is completely written in first draft. But, as I said, that does not mean it is finished. There is a lot of stuff to be sorted out, honed back, a lot of threads to be joined and that happens in a to and fro process that is hard to control. But I am on it. I am getting there and I will get there. And I am not afraid to finish or trying for perfection. I need the books to be ended properly. I need to feel a true sense of completion or how will readers feel it? I actually think I am closer than I think, now that I am no longer under such pressure.
...The good news is that the next book, which will be called The Sending, is able to come out sooner than it would have done with any other solution, and though The Red Queen will not come out in the same year, this gives me more time to add what needs adding to the final book. The Sending will be published in September 2011....