I’m happy to report that The Maelstrom has been put to bed and I’m already at work on The Tapestry’s fifth and final book. That volume will be titled The Red Winter and bring Max and David’s adventures to a close. While it’s bittersweet to work on the final book, I’m excited to give Max, David, Mum, Bob, Bram, Mina, Astaroth, Hannah, etc. etc. a fitting sendoff. It’s simply amazing how these characters become family. I tear up when I think about saying goodbye! Yes, I know that’s more than a little pathetic….
At the beginning of a new book, I spend a good deal of time planning the major storylines and character arcs (i.e., how the character will develop). I also try to brainstorm ways in which to expand and enrich the reader’s sense of the Rowan world, such as the various kingdoms, the Workshop, the witch clans, other realms, and even the various sub-cultures that exist among various species (e.g., hags, goblins, ogres).
Experience has taught me that I’ll never be able to plan every aspect of a book. The process of writing brings about so many moments of inspiration that it’s impossible to anticipate every plot and character development. Some of the series’s strongest elements occurred to me only when I was deep into the story and many characters (e.g., Mum) had their roles expanded when I found them to be irresistible. Thus I try to strike a balance and have a sense of where I’m going while giving myself leeway for some improvisation along the way.
That said, the fact that The Red Winter will be the final book requires me to bring certain story lines to a definitive close. We need to know what happens to Astaroth, Bram, Max, David, the Book of Thoth, Mum, the Fomorian, and innumerable other characters and plot threads that have popped up throughout the course of four novels. Given this, I’ve got a running list of issues that must be resolved and another list of “nice to have” scenes or developments that could lend depth, charm, or texture to the world or some secondary characters. Ultimately, a writer could tell a particular story in an infinite number of ways. The trick is to brainstorm a compelling story/world and then be judicious in what to share and how to share it. After all, a publisher isn’t going to let me write a book that’s much longer than 500 pages. Each page has value and I have to spend them wisely.
While I’m working on The Red Winter, I hope you’re getting excited about The Maelstrom. It will be out on October 23rd and I could not be more proud of how it has come together. In my opinion, it is the tightest book in the series and captures the strongest aspects of its predecessors while bringing some intriguing new concepts into the mix. Just a few short months!
A final note. I’ll be working on a new website that should be launched before The Maelstrom comes to market. It’s designed to improve upon this website, make it easier to administer, and streamline the content/features so that they’re more user-friendly. It will also reflect the strange idea that I may have other books someday — books that don’t fall within The Tapestry series. Strange to imagine! If you have any particular gripes about this site or things you’d like to see in the new one, please let me know via the comments or “Contact Author” tab.
Back to work…more updates soon!