Wednesday, September 26, 2012

You Know How It Ends…Now See How It Began

“I once heard a rumor about thieves who stole treasure from the Crown Tower of Ervanon and replaced it the very next night,” Emily explained.

“Why would anyone do such a thing?” Alenda asked.

The viscount chuckled softly. “I’m sure that’s merely a legend. No sensible thief would behave in such a way.”

I wrote that back in the fall of 2004, almost exactly eight years ago near the start of the novel The Crown Conspiracy. I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina back then, and I never had any thought of publishing stories about the two thieves I’d just started writing about. At that time this passage was just color, a way of adding depth and setting up the following explanation of how thieves worked in the world of Elan. Still, even when I wrote it, I knew Albert Winslow was lying. He was well aware that Royce and Hadrian had done that job. I just never devoted any time to discovering exactly what had happened.

Until now.

Since June 6th I’ve had a survey running on my blog asking readers their opinion on what they would like to read about if I did more books from the universe of Elan. I made no promises. I didn’t want to keep writing if only a few people cared. My plan was one of wait and see how the world received the Riyria books. Well, the series has only been out for eight months, so it’s still a little early, but I think the boys have made a pretty good impression—good enough to take a serious look at bringing them back for more adventures.

Overwhelming requests indicated you wanted the origin story—the birth of Riyria. You wanted to see how Royce and Hadrian first met and the first job they did together. Well, today I am officially announcing—you’re getting your wish.

The Crown Tower—the next full-length Royce and Hadrian novel—and the first of The Riyria Chronicles, is scheduled for release by Orbit in August 2013 in trade paperback, electronic book, and audio formats. 

You’re probably wondering what The Riyria Chronicles are. Right now it’s not much more than an idea I have. The Riyria Chronicles, as I envision them, are stories that fill in the history of the twelve years of Royce and Hadrian’s life as Riyria. They will be generally standalone novels that I imagine will center on significant events in their career together, told mostly in order, and I was thinking one book for everyone of one their twelve years. That’s not to say I will write twelve books.  This isn’t that kind of series. It’s not an ongoing tale or interconnected in the sense that Revelations was, or Song of Ice and Fire is. It really can’t be since if you’ve read The Riyria Revelations, you already know how everything turns out. So this won’t be a single story told in parts, but rather much more episodic like The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes or maybe the Dresden Files—only with medieval thieves instead of nineteenth century detectives or modern day wizards.

Chronicles will likely hit on topics hinted at in The Riyria Revelations that readers have asked about like the original Drumindor job, the disaster that was Blythe Castle, the Crown Tower heist as well as others never previously touched on. While I have several additional projects under production, The Riyria Chronicles allows me a framework to put out a new Royce and Hadrian story every so often, just for the fun of it without hampering me from stretching my authorial limits by discovering new characters and worlds to explore. 

You may be wondering why I didn’t just do a sequel.

If you read Revelations, you know how the story ends. Some have actually called it perfect, and I worked hard ensuring those dominos fell exactly right. I like the place that everyone was left in, and am perfectly content to have them get a rest after all the trials and tribulations I’ve put them through. That’s not to say I won’t consider something in the same world, generations in the future, but Royce and Hadrian wouldn’t star in such a story. Chronicles is a way I can provide more of what most of my readers have told me they want—more time with two guys who should never have been friends, risking their lives for each other.

So what’s The Crown Tower about? Here’s the teaser:

 * *

Two men who hate each other.
One impossible mission.
A legend in the making.

A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadias can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.

For me the challenge, and fun of this book, was in recognizing that when they first met, Royce and Hadrian wouldn’t have liked each other much. So could I construct a tale that would realistically portray those first tenuous steps toward such a legendary friendship? I think I have, and I’m very excited to share it with you.

So at last, I can finally make official a project I’ve been keeping under wraps for some time. Technically the deal I made with Orbit is for two Royce and Hadrian novels…and I’ll be back in the not too distant future to tell you more about the second book in The Riyria Chronicles, but that’s a topic for another day. Today is all about The Crown Tower, and the fact that the boys are coming back. I hope you’ll give them a warm welcome when they arrive next August.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Scoring Points


Fall is a busy time—back to school and all that. For me autumn has always been the season when my books came out and I started new projects. This year I’m way behind.

I’m in the middle of one novel that I never intended to write that is going great but keeping me from starting a trilogy that I told myself I would begin last week. At present, however, I can’t do either because I’m working on edits for two other novels I wrote last year and writing a short story already overdue for an anthology.

My wife has suggested that I just write 24/7, but I actually do need sleep.

This blog falls into the something’s-gotta-give category. Still I have to relate something that recently occurred…

When it comes to reading, my son is worse than my daughter ever was. He hates reading, always has. At sixteen, he’d only read what he was forced to at school. At seventeen I managed to get him into the Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, and he read the whole series. Score one for me and Rick.

I never even tried to get him to read my books.

For his birthday recently, we got him a Nexus 7 in the hopes of using gadgetry to spur reading. I told him he could buy any books he wanted using my account and I’d pay for them.  This was all wishful thinking on my part. I knew he’d use the new device to play games, or for email.

But then something surprising happened.

A few years ago I drove my son and friends to a movie and learned one of the boys—one of my sons friends—had read my books and loved them. He was giddy to meet me, he was also clearly ostracized by the others for his geekish behavior. As my son has gotten older his circle of friends has begun to include girls. Young women have started visiting the house along with his old boy’s network. And then it happened. While on our summer vacation I noticed my son was spending a lot of time on his new Nexus 7. I asked what he was doing with it, and he replied… “Reading.”

I was shocked.

“What are you reading.”

“Theft of Swords.”

I was confused to the point of almost mentioning what a coincidence that was given I wrote a book by the same title. Then I realized—he was reading my book. Like a perfectly built card-house I backed away slowly so as not to disturb anything.

Not long after he came to my wife to ask if he could get the second book on the Nexus 7. I found this funny as all get out, since our house is packed with copies of my books in every form and language imaginable. You can’t walk into any room and not find ten or twenty on shelves, in boxes, or on tables. But he wanted it on his new device, so sure, why not—anything to get him to read. And he was reading my books!

So I had to admit I was proud that my writing had managed to penetrate that resistance to reading that my son had so carefully constructed. After so long, the series that I created to help interest my daughter in a love of words, but came too late to help her, had done the trick with my even more stubborn son. It only took six years, over 200,000 sales, releases in 14 different languages, and a Nexus 7 to get him to read them, but I wasn’t going to complain. I had achieved the impossible. I had gotten my son to like books.

Then I discovered the real reason.

Okay maybe it isn’t the real reason, maybe I’m wrong, this is only speculation after all. Still I found it suspicious when I recently discovered the two new inductees into the old boy friend’s network, the young ladies, were also fans of my books. When, as a teenager, a friend likes your dad’s novels, he’s a geek. When a girl likes them…that’s a whole different argument.

I’m still marking this as a point for Royce and Hadrian.