First, the Cliff’s notes: I’m 45,000 words into Volume Three as of today, and that means I am either:
- Halfway done
- A third of the way done
- A quarter of the way done
At this point, your guess is as good as mine.
(Spoiler alert from this point on, if you have not read Volumes One and Two)
As Volume Three begins, quite a lot is happening. Our heroic companions from the Grove have only just begun their journey to Eyreloch. Mila Felsin’s long-delayed revenge has been delayed even further. Belgorne and Thornwood prepare for war. Mor has fallen to the mob, Sartean D’Avers has yet to earn his final reward, and something awful has emerged from Fang.
These are just the main plot lines. As you know by now, Ash and Fury is the story of an enchanted world facing a cataclysmic end, told from the perspectives of many of its citizens, and I do not exaggerate when I say that, to me, there is no such thing as a secondary character in this tale. The unrequited love Sir Barris carries for his queen is, in my mind, as much at the center of the story as is Shyla Greykin’s journey of self-discovery. We’ve barely yet gotten to know Princess Aria as she struggles with the responsibilities of leadership. It is as much a story about J’arn Silverstone’s battle with his sense of inadequacy as it is of Lucan not-Thorne’s evolution from a brash, carefree hustler into…what? I would be lying if I said I knew. The trials of Mila Felsin, Dohr Silverstone, Mistress Pheonaris, Kari Flint… even young Nikalus (and yes, even Wolf) are as vital to the telling of this tale as are the adventures of the companions who set out from the Grove. Oh, and let’s not forget our gnomes: Oort and Thinsel Greykin would surely not allow a little thing like the end of the world keep them apart, and as for Cindra Sandshingle… well, I’ll just say that we have not yet heard the last of her.
How will Kehrlia factor in the battles to come? What horrors wake beneath the surface of Tahr, what extraordinary and terrible powers do they posses, and how far is their reach? To the Sapphire? Beyond its shimmering shores? What lies north of Thornwood? East of Belgorne? West of Eyreloch? And who – or what – is the real enemy, the ultimate evil against which our heroes must eventually stand?
Volume Three will answer some of these questions. Many, even. But not all. Not by a long shot. With every scene I write, I am learning more and more about who the characters of Tahr really are, and if you’ve been paying attention, you already know: the story of the people of Tahr is far more significant than the recitation of the threats they face. And that, I believe, is as it should be. When our own tales are told one day, will we be remembered for what we did on any given day? Will our legacy be the trials we faced, or rather who we became as we faced them? So, as I write, hastening to tell the tale of what, I perpetually find myself fascinated with questions of who and why.
So, to come full circle, how far along is Volume Three? Twenty chapters. 45,000 words. I may very well finish in the next few weeks, and believe me, I am anxious to share these new chapters with you; I am by no means dragging my feet. But, if it happens that these characters have more to say, more of themselves to share than I anticipated, then perhaps it will take a bit longer to tell the story of what, and Volume Three will become a 200,000-word doorstop. Then again, maybe not.
For those of you who are waiting on baited breath, the only promises I can give you are these:
- By the time you finish Volume Three, you will know why the world of Tahr is in such peril.
- There is a satisfying scene coming soon, one that will have you cheering from your seat.
- Your heart will break, and you will curse my name… for a time.
- You’ll have the opportunity to hate me thus thrice more, as Ash and Fury will be a six volume series. Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise, we’ll be finished by the end of ’18.
I said this when I completed Volume One: I am more a passenger on this ship than its captain. I’ll man the ropes and polish the rails, but where we’re going and how long it takes to get there… well, that’s up to the seas and the winds.
May they be fair and following.
P.S. Love you guys and gals.
P.P.S. Mean it.
P.P.P.S. I’m ready to order special edition hardcover books for both Omens and Tremors. I need a minimum of 100 each to place the order, so if you want a signed, numbered first edition copy (They’ll be about $30) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know to put you on the list.