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By Patrick (2007-08-21)
Q: For the benefit of those of us not familiar with your work, what can you tell us about your fantasy debut, A Shadow in Summer?
It's intended as a stand-alone novel and also as part of a four-book sequence called The Long Price Quartet. It was meant to be a little bit different than the usual fantasy. This one in particular sets up the world, and puts a handful of men and women in a position where they have to champion right, save their city, and prevent genocidal slaughter. Pick two.
Q: How important was it to benefit from George R. R. Martin's "patronage?" His quote on the cover of A Shadow is Summer must have helped give you and the book some exposure.
It never hurts to be mentioned in the same breath as George. He was one of my teachers when I went to Clarion West, and he's been very kind in supporting me and introducing my work to his fans. The cover blurb was great, and I think it helped get some attention from folks who otherwise might not have picked it up.
That said, though, I'm not sure how much patronage really helps. George has blurbed books other than my own. Some of them have done well, some haven't. I wish I could invoke his name and have my sales figures turn to gold, but honestly I don't think famous friends can make or break a career. If the book's good enough and the author gets lucky, it'll find it's audience. If the book isn't good or the writer isn't lucky, even a 900-pound gorilla can't keep it from failure.
Q: What can you tell potential readers about the sequel, A Betrayal in Winter?
It's also intended to be a stand-alone novel. It's set 15 years after the first book -- there are gaps like that between each book in the series -- and not all of the folks from the first book are in this one. It's set in the far north of the world where A Shadow in Summer was in the far south, a lot has happened in between books, and people aren't quite who they were when you saw them last.
The way that A Shadow in Summer was about being young and dramatic and over your head, A Betrayal in Winter is about deciding who you are, or maybe realizing that between what you've already done and the world you live in, a lot has already been decided for you.
Q: What can we expect from the two forthcoming volumes, An Autumn War and The Price of Spring?
An Autumn War is a little bit longer than either of the first books without being a doorstop. Again, it's set 14 or 15 years after A Betrayal in Winter, and it's the great big war to end all wars, the big showdown between the forces that were put in play in the first two books. That sounds very simple, like the orcs all show up and start waving axes or something. It's more complex. I'm deeply into moral ambiguity. By the end, I hope that readers are wondering who they should be rooting for.
The Price of Spring is the book where the war's over and we have to deal with the peace. And if that's not contemporary, I don't know what is.
Q: What's the progress report pertaining to An Autumn War? Any tentative release date?
It's done. I turned it in something like a year ago, and we've been editing it and getting cover art and waiting for the great and unstoppable wheels of publication scheduling to move forward. I assume it'll be released about the same time as the paperback of A Betrayal in Winter, so late summer/early fall of 2008. But I expect I'll be putting up excerpts and samples well before then.
Q: Are you happy with the way A Shadow in Summer was greeted by the SFF community?
It's been very well reviewed, and people seem to be genuinely interested in what comes next. I don't know that there's a higher compliment than that.