Jeanine's post is up so all the giveaways on this post are now closed off--and the winners of the books are:
Onge: for the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family,
ThatOneGirlYouKnew: for Kirsten Cashore's Fire.
Congratulations to you both!
And I'll be getting the postcards away today to everyone who has left their postal address on my webmail. :)
Thank you again to you all for participating--and don't forget that next month on 1 February I'll be chatting here on the Supernatural Underground with Beth-Anne Miller about her debut novel Into the Scottish Mist. I'm really looking forward to it!
I had all sorts of ideas for New Year posts, but today these were all superseded by the fantabulously wonderful fact that I have finished the manuscript for the second novel in The Wall of Night series—working title The Gathering of the Lost.
I know a few of my fellow Supe authors have also been going down to the wire with all sorts of deadlines over the holiday season, but mine has pretty much been that I want to finish the book No Matter What! And what an awesome feeling, reaching that final line and word—until, of course, Book Three (!) But for now I aim to kick back, put my feet up with a glass of something chilled (and probably with bubbles in it) and spend some quality time with both cat and man, both of whom have been just a little neglected of late!
For those of you who might not know, The Heir of Night, which came out in October, is epic or high fantasy, chock full of what Robin Hobb was kind enough to describe as “strange magic, dark treachery and conflicting loyalties.” The Gathering of the Lost carries on this grand tradition, but there is a shift in the action to encompass both more adventure—with knights in armor, quests, tournaments, flights and rescues—as well as romance. Our protagonists are older, you see, and find themselves in a country with a troubadorian tradition of “springtime love” …
Given both knightly adventure and romance, Gathering has been a lot of fun to write. And very interesting in terms of character development, because the central protagonists now have separate story threads to pursue rather than always being together. This does tend to make for more story goodness—and of course, being Fantasy, more world building fun and goodness as the characters encounter different countries and societies within their world.
It all begins, of course, with the blank page, which is both exciting—as I believe Beatrix Potter said, “You never know where it will take you” (or words to like effect)—and terrifying at the same time, and for exactly the same reason: Where will it take you? And once you have launched into the exciting and terrifying, exhilarating and exhausting process of writing a novel, there are not only all those “best words” to be crafted into the “right order” (Coleridge), but (as above) world building and character development, action and subtext, theme and structure—all to be considered and developed, worked and reworked again.
So getting to the end of the manuscript is always a red letter moment. You have such a feeling of achievement as you type in that final full stop. OK, maybe as a writer you never, ever quite stop, because there are always new ideas buzzing around, or spin-offs on the old ones. Finishing the book is more like ‘pressing Pause’: Time for reflection and to take stock, both of where you’ve got to and what you still need to do—as well as what you might like to do beyond this book, and what new projects could potentially lurk just around the corner.
Completing a manuscript on New Year’s Day is particularly significant in terms of that process of both reflection and looking forward. It’s what New Year is all about—and why I am doubly pleased to be posting today and able to share this moment with you. Not just to say “hey, I’ve finished!” which of course I’m over the moon to be doing, but to ask what achievements, big or small, you’re celebrating today, and what hopes and dreams, or concrete plans, you hope to realize in 2011?
I’m hoping to see The Gathering of the Lost in print this year, to finish The Wall of Night, Book Three (working title, The Riven Shield) and start Book Four. For hopes and dreams, I would love to visit the US and UK and get to Rome to see a friend there—a big dream, given the distance form NZ to just about anywhere, but I’m thinking of ways to make it happen and not short change the writing.
So how about you? What are you celebrating and planning, hoping for and dreaming of, this New Year’s Day 2011?
And a very Happy New Year to you all!
To help the discussion along and just to reiterate my “Happy New Year” to you all, I’ll send a personalized Book Cover’s Postcard (shown left) designed by the artist who did The Heir of Night map, to anyone who comments on this post before the next Supernatural Underground author posts AND emails me a postal address through my website: contact[at]helenlowe.info
And because neither of last month’s giveaway books was claimed (!) I’m putting them up for giveaway again: the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family, and Kirsten Cashore’s Fire. [Open to all Supe followers, US or international.]
To enter the draw (which will be via Random Number selection), just add a comment on this post; again the cutoff is before the next Supernatural Underground author posts. As always, you can earn points (i.e. the number of times your name goes into the draw) by:
+1 Posting in the comments section
+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
+1 Linking to this post on Facebook
+1 Linking to the Supernatural Underground or my Helen Lowe on Anything Really blog on your own blog/website.
Just post the total number of points that you’ve earned in your comment. And don’t forget to check back after the closing date to see if you’ve won, or leave an email address where I can get in contact with you.
Next Month: 1 February
On next month's post day, 1 February, I will be inviting my friend and fellow author, Beth-Anne Miller, to join me here on the Supernatural Underground. Beth-Anne has a brand-new Romance novel, Into the Scottish Mists, coming out from The Wild Rose Press on February 4. So Beth-Anne will be here to tell us all a bit about the book and her path to publication—and I know you’ll all show her your wonderful Supe support. :) Meanwhile, for a sneak preview, you can find Beth-Anne at http://www.facebook.com/bethannemiller17.