I thought you all might like a peek at the catalog copy I mentioned the other day. This has to fit in about a four inch square on Passage's page in the booklet that HarperCollins (or William Morrow, proximately) prints up to present their offerings to booksellers, wholesalers, etc. -- their immediate customers, in other words. These are the folks that select what books, and how many of them, will appear in due course on your bookstore shelves, and the lead time is about what you see -- all the books that will be out next summer have to be fit into the catalog, which will go out mid-winter, right now. So books not-infrequently go into the catalog before cover art is complete, or other compromises. One really wants the title nailed down at this point, however. Also on the page will go author info and maybe a photo, marketing plans (such as book tours or where ads for the book are planned to appear), isbns, blurbs, and cross-references to related books, if any.
I'm still getting used to the book's new and final title. In my head it's still The Wide Green World, Vol. 1. But Passage will slot in from use pretty quickly, I expect, as Beguilement and Legacy did.
So the ad copy will go:
"Fawn, a young farmer girl, and Dag, a seasoned Lakewalker soldier-sorcerer, survived magical dangers and found love and loyalty. But their strength and passion cannot overcome the bigotry of their own kin. Leaving all they have known behind, they set off to find fresh solutions to the perilous split between their peoples.
But they will not journey alone. Along the way they inadvertently acquire comrades: Fawn's irrepressible brother; a pair of novice Lakewalker patrollers; a farmer boy Dag accidentally magically beguiles; and a young riverboat captain searching for her father and fiancé who mysteriously vanished on the river nearly a year ago.
As the motley band travels downstream on a flatboat to the sea, Fawn and Dag encounter a new world of hazards both human and uncanny... and a new understanding of the bonds between themselves and their kinfolk."
Subject: (news) Done! ...for a certain value of done Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007
The final draft of The Sharing Knife, Vol. 3: Passage went back to my Eos editor this afternoon. Basically, I've stuffed the fully-edited manuscript into my end of the publishing pipeline, and it will emerge as a finished book in June, 2008. It will come back to haunt me twice more before then, once as a copy-edit and once as galleys.
The line-edit had no structural complaints, but lots of word dinks. I had a list of my own, plus some touch-ups on content for medical accuracy, plus some fine-tuning in light of developments in book #4, and all in all, there were about a thousand things to think about, however briefly. (If a comma placement, very briefly. If a word choice or sentence structure, longer. If added words or lines, ditto. And so on.) That number is a close estimate, not a figure of speech, btw. The power went out at 11 last night and didn't come on again till 3 this afternoon, which probably benefited my very last 6-line revision, as I had more time to think about it. Started this edit pass on Thursday August 2; just under two weeks, then.
Mailing out the box (boxes, in this case, one copy to my editor and the other to my agent) of a finished draft always makes me feel about a hundred pounds lighter. An illusion, alas. Tonight, I get a glass of wine with dinner, which I forwent last night. No brain cells needed now... eyeballs and shoulders are still fried, though. I don't think I can drink enough wine to undo my shoulders.
It's been strange to re-acquaint myself with this book. I think this is the longest gap I've ever had between finishing the first submission draft and doing the edit pass -- I turned in the first version last fall, and we then let it lie fallow for as long as possible while I made tracks on #4. Well. So this was the book I wrote. And all the should-have/could-have/might-have-been alternate possibilities for its content are now gone forever. Good riddance to most of them, too. As is usual for this stage, I have no idea what readers will make of it all.
The first draft, according to my computer files, was started December 27, 2005. (This would be when I actually started typing -- I'd have been thinking about it and working up notes and doing research reading for some months before that.) Final draft comes in at 134,197 words, 544 manuscript pages, 24 chapters. (For comparison, Beguilement was 19 chapters and about 105,000 words.) From my point of view Passage (I'm still getting used to that title) partakes of some of the qualities of the middle book of a trilogy, yet my editor scrawled on the last page (at the end of her two-weekend marathon edit session) that she thought it the most emotionally satisfying of the series so far. Go figure. But then, she hasn't seen any of #4 yet, and I have.
Editor is now mulling over cover art ideas -- I had lots of elements to offer -- river scenes, flatboats and keelboats, character descriptions and critters -- but no notions for the composition, which should suggest a narrative and not just a landscape, important as the geography is to this book. I'm hoping the artist will be inspired -- that, after all, is the artist's job, as prose is mine. Shall have more updates on the cover art as things move along, but right now it's all still in flux. Copy for the sales catalog, which is being put together right now, also went through my hands yesterday; I'm glad they let me touch it up. (It was the last e-mail I got out before the power blew -- big storm here last night.) Jacket flap copy will happen a bit later on.
Now I'm going to go fix pizza and salad, drink more wine, and let David Attenborough show and tell me all about birds. That should be soothing.
Subject: (chat) KFAI interview archived
Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2007
The interview I did on KFAI this morning is up on their archives already, for the next two weeks...
Subject: Lois on KFAI Thursday August 9th, 11:00am
Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2007
Hi all --
I'm scheduled to do a radio interview on local station KFAI-FM here in Minneapolis tomorrow morning. The show runs from 11 AM to 12 noon, and I'll be sharing the hour with another interviewee (sequentially, I assume, tho' I'll find out when I get there.) I don't know right now if I'm slotted in first or second.
However, they have audio archives (and streaming audio) for out-of-town folks through their website.
I did an interview with these folks last fall when Beguilement came out. It didn't get archived, as that part of their site was down at the time, but I have a CD recording which I have permission to post on dendarii.com, with appropriate attributions, if we have the capacity to do audio files. (Paging Mike...?)
Subject: (newsy chat) A New Bujold Interview
Date: Sat, 04 Aug 2007
A long internet interview I did earlier this summer (just before the book tour) with Karen Miller is now up here:
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