Hello, Dear Readers! Happy Thursday to you all. I have various updates and ramblings to impart today. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.
Firstly, did you enter the giveaway to win one of three copies of the wonderful Hidden Among Us by Katy Moran, with signed bookplates? The winners will be picked out via random number generator next Tuesday, so you don't have long left - and it really is ridiculously easy to enter. Go on! You know you want to.
Secondly! I realised that I forgot to tell you I finished the first round of edits on The Name of the Blade Bk #2 last week and submitted them. Wonder Editor is rushed off her feet with Bologna Book Fair related activities at the moment so it might be a while before she gets a chance to look at the new version. I'm crossing my fingers that I've broken the back of the thing, but as usual by this point I am utterly incapable of seeing that a forest exists, let alone that there are trees in it, so all I can do is wait for feedback with bated breath. But my sanity is slowly reasserting itself, which means that I will soon be leaping into draft #1 of The Name of the Blade bk #3. Holy CRAP, you guys. Everytime I think about writing this book I get a fit of full-body tingling, and I don't even know if it's abject terror, exhilerated excitement or some crazy mixture of both. Wow. Trilogies, eh?
In tangentially related stuff, I made a flying visit to London at the end of last week to speak to the London Young Librarian Group at their annual general meeting (that's librarians who are specially concerned with young people, not especially young librarians, in case you were concerned). This was held at Walker Books, and it was a blast not just to present The Night Itself to them (I read from it for the very first time and messed it up because I was so nervous and hadn't practised, sorry everyone) but to get the chance afterwards to speak to so many whip-smart, passionate, dedicated book folk. @MattLibrarian from Twitter was there, too, in his professional capacity - Hi Matt!
Despite the normal delayed trains and extreme weather that are part of any trip I undertake - it's not even a joke anymore, just a fact of life - I managed to get there a little bit in advance of when they needed me for the presentation because I had been promised tea and possibly cookies with Wonder Editor and Lovely Lass. Little did I know that something even more magical would await me:
Wonder Editor, Lovely Lass and Delightful Designer had made a special Japanese picnic for me! I wasn't expecting it at all and I was so touched I nearly cried. Among the wonders on this table are a potted orchid and a branch with red berries (a very nice touch), paper fans, a Japanese paper doll (which I was supposed to take home with me, but I think I left it there, darn it) origami swans and fish, wooden chopsticks and *special* Hello Kitty chopsticks just for me and a teapot in the shape of a lucky Japanese cat. They had gone out specially and purchased my *favourite* sushi - not the supermarket stuff which is blergh - and also Japanese buns and pocky sticks and chocolate pandas. Lovely Lass had even brought specially homemade marshmallow cookies! It was amazing! Thank you so much, guys.
And just when I didn't think I could be anymore moved and happy, this appeared on the table in front of me:
Apologies for the gubbins picture - it's possible my hands may have been shaking with excitement. Yes! My very own gorgeous copy of Clockwork Princess. I thanked them with my special tippy-toe dance which very few have ever seen and survived to tell of.
So it was a wonderful visit. And as soon as I got home I dug out Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince and re-read them. By Sunday I was stuck into Clockwork Princess and it was... *waves hands* it was... argh. I can't even. It exceeded my expectations. It was nothing I expected and EVERYTHING that I needed it to be. It totally emotionally wrecked me and I spent most of the day crying at the beautiful bittersweetness of the conclusion to this powerful story. Everyone knows I am a huge The Mortal Instruments fan, but I think with this, The Infernal Devices has actually surpassed TMI for me. My heart feels three times bigger than it was when I began to read about these characters - these damaged, courageous, wonderful characters - and I just take my hat off to Cassandra Clare both as a reader who loved every second AND a writer who can guess how much must have gone into creating something so truly brilliant.
Which brings me back, via a sideways route, to The Night Itself and The Name of the Blade. Because I've basically spent the past year and a half loudly moaning 'Why? Why did I decide to write a trilogy? What is wrong with me?' and begging everyone I meet to whap me upside the head if I ever mention being possessed of such a stupid idea again. But reading Clockwork Princess did something marvellous; it reminded me why. It reminded me why The Name of the Blade needed to be a trilogy - could ONLY have been a trilogy - and why even with the huge challenges and changes to my standard processes that a series brought and will bring, I am SO GLAD it's a trilogy.
I wanted to write The Name of the Blade because I wanted to create something as epic, as sweeping, as overwhelming as The Infernal Devices turned out to be. I wanted the ability to give my readers an experience like the one that TID gave me. I wanted to create something on a truly grand scale that would hopefully grab onto reader's hearts in a way that very, very few standalone books ever could. And that is a completely worthwhile aim - one that I almost lost track of. So: thank you, Cassandra Clare. Thank you, Walker Books. Today I shall get out my notebook and write the opening words of the last book of my own trilogy, and I shall think of Tessa and Will and Jem, and be brave :)