Last month a few people contacted me by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other places to ask “just what the hell is going on?” and “when’s the next Secret War book coming out?”
I’ve assured them all by saying, “yes, I will be working on book 3 soon, but no, there’s no fixed date for publication”. That would pre-suppose I’ve nailed a publisher to a lucrative contract to publish all the Secret War books. That hasn’t happened, and I’ll be honest – I haven’t approached anyone yet.
At the moment, I don’t wish to deal-in with a proposal until I know what my cards look like, and so far while I have a strong hand, I know I can make it stronger. Once the fourth draft of The Black Hours is completed at the end of this month - in advance of the World Horror Convention in Brighton - I will approach an agent or two, to seek representation possibly, and to see how far away I am to getting a deal that will keep me writing for the next 3-4 years. The Black Hours will be part of that deal, as will the already-published books 1 & 2 of The Secret War series. I’m still with Random House, Germany, which could mean – strangely – that book 3 of the Secret War series may see publication in German before the English version. But stranger things have happened in the peculiar world of publishing…
So what about my next projects and where does the Secret War series figure? Well, my immediate writing schedule is already planned out. 2010 will be the year I complete The Black Hours and make headway on The Traitor of Light, and I expect to complete book 3 of The Secret War by the summer 2011. It won’t be a long book (about 300 pages) though it will require my customary 4 to 5 drafts, so it will take some time, folks. Depending on whether I have a publisher by then, it will be edited professionally and then sent to Random House Germany, and hopefully an English publisher too.
After that, I plan to write another stand-alone novel, either The 22nd Floor or The Fixer of Clocks, before embarking on the fourth Secret War novel. The Fortress of Black Glass is all there waiting to be written, I just want to give it all my attention rather than leap into it as I did last year at the request of my former publishers. I’ve since learnt you can’t rush these things, especially for a book that could be as long as 600 pages.
After Fortress, I’ll be taking a short break from series-writing with another standalone novel, probably whichever book I didn’t complete in 2012. And this will bring me nicely to 2015.
After then…? Well, there’s 20 more books that I have plots and characters for, including those mentioned on the website. It will all depend if I’m writing full-time by then and whether all my attention is fixed on completing those projects. There are plans for more Secret War books (there were 12 in all), but other projects may intervene by then. We’ll have to see - I don’t want to short-change my readership, and I don’t want to string out a series that shouldn’t progress beyond four books.
So, to summarise what’s happening on the book front for the next five years:
The Black Hours (400-500 page stand alone historical thriller) – to be completed 2010
The Traitor of Light (300 pages; third book of The Secret War series) – to be completed 2011
And in no particular order…
The 22nd Floor (300 pages; stand alone horror novel)
The Fortress of Black Glass (600 pages; fourth book of The Secret War series)
The Fixer of Clocks (300 pages; stand alone science-fiction thriller)
Add to that a short story every month, and this should keep me out of trouble for the next five years, shouldn’t it?