Brian Ruckley's News & Views

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What I'm Writing

As promised in the last post here, some brief details on the new book I'm writing. Yes, the fine folks at Orbit, in their infinite wisdom, seem to feel that the world could withstand further literary output by yours truly. (I say wisdom, but it might just be some ghastly administrative error on their part, of course. No matter. They signed the contract, so they're stuck with me now).

The working title (and so far everyone, including me, seems to quite like it, so I imagine it'll probably survive all the way through to publication) is The Edinburgh Dead. The setting is, as you might guess, Edinburgh; specifically, Edinburgh in the first half of the 19th century. Since I write fantasy rather than history, though, it's not quite as simple as that.

I'm taking some gruesome and rather famous aspects of Edinburgh's past and spicing them up a bit with veteran warriors, magical conspiracies, killers both human and decidedly not, desperate combat and sinister goings-on in general. In short, it's a dark, heroic fantasy set in 19th century Edinburgh. With swords and gaslamps.

As for publication date - because I know someone will ask about that sooner rather than later - I can't say exactly, but I'll be delivering the manuscript next year and barring exceptional circumstances it takes at least nine months, more likely something approaching twelve, to go from that point to publication. So you can do the math yourselves.

I'm having a lot of fun working on this so far. It's a stand alone novel, and that makes a very pleasant change after turning out a hefty trilogy like The Godless World. I'll no doubt report back here on the creative process and progress (watch out for that mid-book slump of despair and self-doubt!), but I'll leave it there for now. Got stuff to write.

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Blogger oneils said...

This sounds great. Can't wait! I'm a big fan of your Godless World series.

So, its great to know that another book is coming.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

That sounds great :-)
Did you have to come up with a load of different story lines, present them to Orbit and wait for them to say yay or nay to them, or does Orbit just let you disappear for a year and they shall publish whatever book you come up with (obviously after going through all the editing processes and what-not)?

12:34 PM  
Blogger Brian Ruckley said...

Simon: The way it works is very much closer to the first process you suggest than the second! There's money at stake here, and sadly Orbit are not foolish enough to just hand over an advance without knowing what book it is they're buying. So yes, I propose something, and if they like the sound of it, they give me a contract (and an advance) and then I go away and write it.

The one big difference between being an unpublished author trying to sell your first book, and having a book or two (or in my case three) already published, and therefore an established relationship and track record, is that you get to just submit an outline proposal (a pitch, I suppose). It is, believe me, very nice to be able to secure a contract and an advance on the basis of a pitch, rather than having to write all or most of the story without knowing whether or not you'll get paid for it!

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To follow on to what Simon asked. After Orbit accepted your "pitch" is there a time line that they want you to comply with? I'm sure they would like to see another book within a year or so, but are they flexible, or are you under the gun so to speak?


12:58 PM  
Blogger Brian Ruckley said...

Mikk: there's always a deadline for completion specified in the contract, but it's a bit more of a mutually agreed thing rather than something the publisher defines entirely on their own and then imposes. Certainly, if I said "i'll deliver it in three years time", the publisher might throw up their hands in horror and walk away, but so long as I'm not suggesting anything quite so silly, they're open to a certain amount of negotiation.

9:43 AM  

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