I have just seen Tom Percival's rough version of what the paperback cover for The Dying of the Light ... and all I can say is WOW.
This cover needs to be a poster. You'll be seeing it yourself in a matters of weeks, and then you can join me in demanding more posters. MORE!
Before the paperback of TDOTL comes out, of course, there'll be the paperback edition of Armageddon Outta Here. We'll be using a slightly altered version of the hardback cover for this because I didn't want anyone out there picking it up thinking it's one of the main books — I want it to be as obvious as possible that it's a collection of stories. There ARE going to be three new stories in it, though, about which I'll go into more detail closer to publication.
The Skulduggery series is, of course, now over, and I'm working on this mysterious new trilogy of mine. I had a third of it written by the time TDOTL was released, and then I went on a tour that took me to the other side of the world, and writing stopped.
When I got back, I had to write those three new short stories for AOH — so writing of the new series was postponed.
Then I needed a break. I just needed one or two weeks to just stop working and relax. So no writing got done.
Then it was December, and I sat down to write the remaining two thirds of the book. And I sat. And I sat. And nothing was happening. My absolute deadline for getting the first book finished was the end of January, and I had a LOT to do. But nothing was happening.
The writing had stalled.
This, as you can imagine, was not good. This was ever-so-slightly worrying. It had happened before, of course. It had happened with The Faceless Ones and again with Kingdom of the Wicked. Writer's block? Maybe. If such a thing exists, then I probably had it.
December carried on. I spoke to my agent and my editor just before the Christmas break, because the title I had been planning on using (or something similar) had been used by someone else a year earlier. We'd been having discussions about what it was going to be called now. None of my ideas were hitting in the way I needed.
But then, right before the Christmas break, the title came to me. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is — not yet. But it came to me and my eyes widened, and I sent off an email. A short email. Two words long. My title. My agent and my editor got back to me immediately — perfect.
We got on the phone, discussed it, said merry Christmas, and hung up.
Happy once again, I sat down at my desk and began to WRITE.
Except I didn't.
The book was still stalled.
The day before Christmas Eve I was sitting at my computer, staring at the screen. I remembered how I had been blocked when writing The Faceless Ones and Kingdom of the Wicked. When I was writing TFO, I was in the process of buying a house and I was about to move in. Something like this is incredibly distracting, and probably accounted for my inability to write. I broke through that block one day (on New Year's Eve, 2008) simply because enough time had passed. I didn't question it, I just wrote. When I was writing KOTW, I got halfway through and things slowed down. I wasn't blocked, exactly, but I wasn't inspired. There was something missing. I looked at the title — Kingdom of the Wicked — and I asked myself what does this title say to me?
For some reason, it said 'alternate dimension'.
That's what was missing. Immediately I was writing about shunting and Mevolent and a world ruled by sorcerers, and slotting all that into what I'd already written about Argeddion and Kitana.
So, two days before Christmas, I looked at this title I'd just come up with, and I asked myself what does this title say to me?
And it told me. And suddenly everything changed.
The core idea is still the same — it's still about a 16 year old girl who is being chased across America by demons — but it has grown. It has expanded. It has evolved.
So I scrapped what I'd written. I managed to salvage maybe half of it, but that meant I was now even worse off than I had been. The thing is, though, I was now inspired. This was FUN again.
My deadline is still the end of this month. In the last week, I have written enough to that I have once again got a third of it written. I calculate that I will need to write twice as much as I usually do per day to get it done in time. Yesterday was my first attempt to do this. I wrote EXACTLY twice as much as I usually do. Yesterday was a good day. Today is going to be a good day too.
It has to be.