My second book will be out in just over three months. I’ve been lucky in always knowing what my Book 2 would be – lucky in already having written it before I even knew there’d be a Book 1 and 3. In a way, I feel like I got to skip happily right over yea olde Book Two Syndrome –
And land face-first into Book Three Syndrome instead.
But this post isn’t about that, this is about my next book, my book two, the book of my heart and soul, the book that started this whole journey. I wrote The Impossible Contract in a fit of anger, in a last-ditch attempt to see if I could even still do this whole writing thing or if I was stuck revising and rehashing old ideas forever. Turns out I could. And then twice more, apparently.
But this post, also, isn’t about that book. Because now I find myself in that same spot again. Because when people ask, what’s next? my first thought isn’t either of my two books that are waiting (im)patiently in the publication queue, words done and carefully edited, covers shiny or soon-to-be. My thoughts go to the open document on my computer, the folder full of half-completed drafts, the notepad with a list of ideas.
When people ask, what’s next? anxiety flares in my chest and that familiar fear that my last series was written by someone else, that it was a fluke, a lightning strike of luck, returns. I ramble about a story I’ve been carefully stalking through the dense woods of doubt and uncertainty for the past few years, its musty coat covered in lichens and moss, its bones built from betrayal. Or if I really trust you, I might mention the epic I’ve started courting, sending it bouquets of paper flowers folded out of my thesis and bringing it on dates to the library.
And in between, I’ll let slip the short stories that have been filling my notepad lately, their concepts tantalizingly short, diversions that promise to only take a few weeks of my time instead of a commitment of months or years. I don’t write shorts, I used to insist, but my folder slowly filling with them betrays me.
But what’s next? you ask.
I… I don’t know. I can’t know until whatever’s next is done, but what’s next is always what’s open, what’s in progress, what’s a maybe, a possibility, a hope. A dream. What’s next is never done. That’s the shifting nature of next.
Thankfully for you, there are several things done and I can tell you about those.
The short story Casting Bones is technically “next” after the Perfect Assassin, a between scene about Azulay and the choices he makes. And bonus! You can read it now!
A second short story set in Ghadid, or between scene, will go up on my blog sometime in September.
The second book, The Impossible Contract, the story about Thana and her need to step out from her mother’s shadow, will be out November 12th.
A between novella will be parceled out on my blog sometime in April 2020.
The third book, The Unconquered City, the story about afters and beginnings and resilience, will be out June 2020.
And after that…? What’s next?
We’ll just have to see.
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