You know how I said that Book 8 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood would be the last one for a few years as I take a short break? Well, that's still true. But not entirely true. Book 8 will be the last book for a few years, but Book 8 is going to be split into two separate large volumes.
"Wait a minute!" you might ask. "If there are two volumes, doesn't that mean there are two separate books?"
The answer to that is yes . . . and no. Poison Crown is still really one big story. Unlike Veiled Rose and Moonblood, which are heavily connected by characters and carry-over themes, but which have two separate plots, climaxes, and resolutions, Poison Crown volumes I and II will be all the same story. You will need to read both of them in order to get the whole of the book.
That being said, Volume I has its own mini-climax and a pseudo-resolution. Though really the "resolution," so to speak, is just gearing up for the continuation of the tale in volume II.
The reasons for this decision are numerous, but I shall try to explain a few of them.
First of all is the simple issue of size. As I was writing along on this project, nearing the end of what will now be volume I, I decided I should stop and do a calculation to estimate the final length of the entire project. And I realized that, at the rate I was going, this book was going to end up 300,000 words long.
Yeah. That's too big.
For one thing, it would be a BRICK to print. Too big for the trim size, too big to hold comfortably . . . just too big! And very expensive on top of that. It would also be terribly intimidating, I suspect. Anyone looking at it would think, "Wow! That's more book than I have time to read right now." I mean, we're talking a book that would dwarf Golden Daughter in size . . . by a long shot!
I played around with shortening the story itself, but all shorter versions of the tale came out thin and under-developed, requiring me to eliminate or significantly downplay important characters, not to mention rushing along important story lines. No, no. The story is what it is and will need space to be told in the proper word count.
So then we began to brainstorm what it would look like to split the book into two 150,000 word novels rather than one 300,000 word novel. All of sudden the whole thing made a lot more sense, and I no longer needed to compromise storytelling and development.
This is not unlike what you will commonly see among many popular fantasy novels these days. Most of the fantasy novels being published in CBA are trilogies, the first two books ending on cliffhangers or near-cliffhangers, the follow-up books picking up where the others left off. This is not what I ordinarily do--I prefer to have connective story threads and characters, but to see each book resolve its own internal plot. As much as possible, I try to write so that a reader could pick up any one of the Goldstone Wood novels and enjoy the story unfolding (though reading them all together provides the best, most satisfying reading experience).
So Poison Crown will be a little different for me. But I am writing the whole thing with the idea of it being ONE book in TWO parts.
This means that I am just now coming up on the end of drafting Volume I: The Smallman's Heir. This book will (Lord willing!) be releasing in November of this year, and Volume II: The House of Lights should follow shortly thereafter, hopefully sometime in March, 2016.
Oh, you know what else this means? Two different Poison Crown covers!