“Now It Can Be Told.
Bad news first: The new project didn’t get picked up by Tor. That’s a bummer, because I really liked working with those guys, and I’ll miss them. But the economy’s in the crapper, and apparently they’re being very bottom-line conscious, and the Long Price books — despite great reviews and all — didn’t move as many copies as they had hoped. I’m not happy about it, but I respect that it’s business.
Too bad Tor feels that way, but I suppose if the books didn’t move enough units, they’re in their right not to pick up his next project. Still, it would have been nice if they had given him a better shot by, say, actually getting his novels onto store shelves? I don’t know about elsewhere, but it was very hard to find any of the Long Price Quartet without resorting to the Internet.
Good news next: My agent shopped the new proposal around, and we got a fair amount of interest from other publishers, with the upshot that Orbit (my UK publisher) bought world rights to the new series in what the trade papers are calling “a good deal.” One thing I thought was particularly interesting: there’s a clause in it that dock’s a fair percentage of my advance if I don’t turn the books in on time. So just be aware that the guys at Orbit have got all y’all’s back.
No big delays (one hopes) is always good, but Abraham seems pretty consistent in his writing anyway. It’s more interesting to find out that Tor didn’t have a similar clause in their original contract with Abraham. In any case, Orbit is a good publisher and will, hopefully, put more stock in Abraham’s work than Tor did.
But the new project — The Dagger and the Coin — starts up next year. It’s a very different project from the Long Price books. I’m not using the same jump between books I did with Long Price. The magic system’s totally different (and I love the hell out of it). The pace is faster. I’m very conscious of the influences I’m cultivating going into it — Walter Tevis, Alexandre Dumas, Tolkien, J. Michael Straczynski, Joss Whedon, GRRM, Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen, Dorothy Dunnett, Tim Parks — and I’m trying to take the things that I love about each one of them and make a stew out of it. It’s set right at the friction point between the medieval period and the renaissance, so we’ve got knights and kings, but we also have merchant houses and finance. There’s some magic of the understated magic. There’s political intrigue. There’s a girl who was raised as the ward of a Medici-style bank, there’s a high nobleman who’s gotten himself and his family in over his head, there’s an emotionally scarred mercenary captain straight out of Dumas.
The point of it all is to make a book that reads to me now the way that the Belgariad did when I was 16. I’m going to be swimming in everything I think is cool for the next year. I’m *really* looking forward to it.”
Though I haven’t read The Long Price Quartet (which I’ll rectify this summer now that the final volume has been released), I’m already getting a little hot and bothered about the way Abraham’s describing this next project. I’ve heard a few times around the ‘net that the reason some people haven’t read Abraham’s first work is that it just doesn’t sound interesting enough to them. I can’t imagine they’ll be saying the same about The Dagger and the Coin.