Just a few thoughts from the other side of writing The Thief Who Wasn't There. You know, if you're interested in that sort of thing:
Holgren, Holgen, Holgren. I think everybody should be thankful you're at least a few shades of gray closer to the light than the dark. One reviewer recently commented on Trouble's Braids that Holgren seemed a bit over-powerful, and that it might cause problems later on in the series.
One of the reasons I wanted to write Wasn't There was to show just how much of a badass Holgren really is. But I had to do it from his point of view, otherwise you wouldn't get to see the interior cost. The fact is, if Holgren had been born into an age that wasn't as magic-poor, he could have rivaled the likes of the Sorcerer-King. As it is, magic is fading, and he's still a bad-ass. He'll need to be, to face what's coming.
The other thing about Holgren that I wanted to explore a bit is that he's just as fucked up by his past as Amra is by hers. There's a line in Luck's Good Eye where the Sorcerer-King is whining about his childhood, and Amra tells him "Everybody's got it hard growing up." Coming from her, it's less sarcasm and more simple, if biased, observation: "Sure, you were born deformed and barely in control of your body. I watched my mom get killed by my dad, I killed him, then I got hunted by death squads."
In Wasn't There we get a peek into Holgren's past as well. It's not that much better.
After three books living in Amra's head, it was a little difficult to switch gears and get into Holgren's brainspace. For the first third of the book, maybe. What Amra says in three words, he'll say in five. Where Amra will leave out unnecessary words and cut to the meat of the meaning, Holgren will be more precise and deliberate. Where Amra is self-deprecating, Holgren is a little more morose, a touch more self-involved. And in many ways harder and colder. Amra cares; Holgren chooses to care, or not to care.
This book is definitely an Amra Thetys joint, don't get me wrong. Each of the three preceding books had a slightly different tone, a different focus. Book 1 was a whodunnit/revenge tale, book 2 a balls to the wall sword & sorcery roller coaster. Book 3 -- I'm not sure how to describe book 3 actually. But book 4 is something else. It's sort of an odyssey tale, I guess is the best way to describe it.
All of which is a roundabout way of saying I never ever want to fall into the trap of writing the same book but with different antagonists. I've seen that happen to too many series. Amra's not Bruce Banner, wandering from town to town. She isn't David Carradine in Kung Fu.
The series has an arc. It has an end-game. It's all leading towards something. I swear to Kerf.
It's not official, as in there hasn't been a press release, but by now most people know that the series has been picked up by Ragnarok Publications. They plan to release all of the first four books at once, in October. The deal happened after I'd put Wasn't There on pre-order at Amazon. So I put a little disclaimer urging folks not to buy the pre-order, but to wait until October when the prettily covered and professionally edited version comes out.
"Yeah, nah," said a bunch of folks, "I'm ordering this bad boy raht naow." I guess that's why Bezos created one-click ordering--people are not fond of waiting. I love you all, rebel pre-orderers. But don't come after me about typos.
And that's more or less what I got right now. I'm now finishing up the first book in a new series. I've been trying to get this one done for a few years now. I swore I'd get it done, so I'm getting it done.
But I also wrote 1200 words of Amra 5 today. Like a warm bath, I tell ya.