18 September 2010

We Have Come to The End

No, not this blog...even if very few might notice.

But even better, I just put the final touches (read: The End) on the first draft of my third (and no, not the end of the series, either) novel in the Aston West universe, currently entitled Death Brings the Victory. An exciting time, to be sure. And since I usually get asked these questions from people, I might as well determine my answers now.

How long did it take to finish?

I always hate this question, by the way, because I'm not a sequential writer. I may write on this novel for a few months, then move to something else for a few more. When looking at my files, it looks like I began plotting this novel out back in 2006. The first chapter was started in August of 2008, so in pure calendar time, it took me just over 2 years to finish the first draft. However, a quick scan through my files also shows that my first spurt of writing was over a seven-month period, a second over five months (though some of this was going back through the first portion and reminding myself of what I'd written, since I took a seven-month hiatus for other projects), and this final run only required two months (after only four months off)...each one spanning about a third of the book or so. So, in total time spent, it was only about 14 months to finish (compared to 24 in total calendar time).

How long is the book?

Currently in first draft form, Death Brings the Victory is around 105K words. This is a first for me, writing a novel over 100K words. If history is any indicator, my first few edits will actually increase that word count, since my first drafts usually run rather lean on what I consider extraneous details. I liken it to creating a person from scratch. You start with the bones, then add the muscles, organs and various systems, then finish it up with the skin.

When do you think it'll be published?

I'm hoping to begin edits in a couple of months, after taking some time off to both relax, as well as edit a pair of other projects that have been waiting in the wings while I finished. I'm hoping to get edits done in the first half of 2011, followed by the submission period after. Between agents, publishers and the rest of the entertainment involved, it's hard to say when it might be available. I wouldn't count on it before 2012, but one never knows.

Will I have to read your first two books before this one?

I try to write all of my books as standalone, meaning you can read any of them (or any of my short stories, for that matter) in any order you like. Death Brings the Victory is going to be a bit tricky, since it makes references to circumstances taking place in the first two books, but I'm planning to make it easy for first-time readers to pick up the jist, while long-time readers will just have that much more enjoyment with that insight.

But with over two years to wait, you can always read my first two books. Check them out over at AstonWest.com in the meantime.

How many more books will there be in the series?

As many as possible, I hope. As mentioned, each book will be standalone, so we'll always have a conclusion (note that I don't always have happily ever after endings) with each book. But every new book will bring a new adventure...and hopefully Aston will be with us for a good long time.

So, anyway, I figured I'd let everyone know that I finished...and tonight, we celebrate!