That's right, the finished copies of The Name of the Blade: FRAIL HUMAN HEART are back from the printers - just in time, as the book is out on the 2nd of July - and I have received my own, my precious, early copy. Which means, I can do this:
This is an amazing moment for me. Seeing these three books, finished, lined up together this way? Represents five years of my life. Half a decade of hard work on my part, and on the parts of Wonder Editor, Super Agent, Delightful Designer and Lovely Lass (we still miss you, Lovely Lass!) as well as the gathered forces of Walker Books and Candlewick Press. We had wobbles, tantrums, bursts of rampant insanity, and lightning bolts of pure inspiration. I believe that FRAIL HUMAN HEART is the best thing I've ever written, and that the trilogy as a whole represents my greatest achievement as an artist.
When I look at these pictures, and the real thing sitting on the coffee table next to me, and realise that my first (and probably only) trilogy is now officially complete, I can hardly believe it. We did that. I did that. The time has flown by so fast and so much has changed in my life since 2010 when I wrote the first synopsis.
It's bittersweet, though. This trilogy, begun with my father's encouragement, written during his final illness, and completed after his death, is inextricably bound up in my love for him. I will most likely always feel a pang of sorrow when I look at them, because he never got to see the story finished, and he would have wanted to, so much. At the same time, I know he would have been happy and proud today, and not want me to grieve too much for things I can't change. So that's what I'm going to try to do.
Here's how I want to mark today, and the upcoming release of FRAIL HUMAN HEART - which is now just three weeks away. I want to celebrate all the books in the trilogy, and I want to thank all my readers who went out and bought or borrowed the first book, and encourage them to snap the final one up as soon as it hits shelves. I want to do this by giving you free stuff.
Let me explain.
Many of my Dear Readers (like myself - I admit it!) might have the habit of reading the first book in a trilogy, liking it... and then deciding not to buy/borrow the middle book until the last one comes out. I mean, come on, we all know that middle books are angsty and prone to end on cliffhangers, and then you have to wait a whole year and it's just too frustrating. I tried not to end DARKNESS HIDDEN on too much of a cliffhanger, but I have to admit it was pretty angsty, so I'm not innocent. Anyway, this wide-spread habit on the part of all readers means that the sales of middle books in trilogies is often way lower than the sales of first books, and this has definitely been born out in the figures I've seen for The Name of the Blade.
This would be fine, except that all too often if you (and I) don't buy the middle book of the trilogy, well... another year passes and the final book comes out and you just sort of miss it because, honestly, it's been two years since the first book and you've moved on or forgotten what the story was about... so you never end up buying the final book at all. And I just. This is where I put my writer hat on and say: No. No, man. This is not OK.
I put all the best STUFF in the final book. All kinds of amazing stuff, seriously! And all these subtle hints that you probably didn't even NOTICE in the first book, but they were there, and RIGHT NOW they are lying in wait - no, honestly, RIGHT NOW - in your brain, just quivering with the chance to spring out and make sense of all the awesome stuff - the final book is where EVERYTHING DOVETAILS OK and all these fantastic thematic elements that my subconscious was working on the whole time just suddenly emerge and it's beautiful, all right, and just - that story needs to be completed in your brain. It needs to find fruition, or else it'll be unfinished forever! YOU WILL NEVER KNOW HOW COOL IT ALL WAS! THIS WAS FIVE YEARS OF MY LIFE, HOLY CR*P, PLEAASE VALIDAAAATE MY EXISTEEEENCE.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that a good proportion of the people who read and enjoyed the first book have not yet read and enjoyed the second one, and I would really like them to, and also to read and enjoy the final one. So: free stuff.
I have ten signed copies of DARKNESS HIDDEN right here - my author copies, which I have saved for a year, for this reason - and I am going to give them away to ten UK readers.
The winners will also get assorted The Name of the Blade swag, and two signed and personalised bookplates.
I want these books to go to Dear Readers who read THE NIGHT ITSELF but haven't yet gotten around to buying or borrowing DARKNESS HIDDEN, because when Book #3: FRAIL HUMAN HEART comes out on July the 2nd, I want you to be as excited about it as I am, and I want you to run to your local bookshop, or Amazon/online retailer, or the library, or your big sister or dad or whoever buys or borrows or lends books in your life, and say: I need Frail Human Heart right now. I want us all to be celebrating the completion of this trilogy together. That is what will make me happy.
So how do you get your hands on your free signed copy of DARKNESS HIDDEN (and assorted swag)? It is so super easy, you'll laugh.
I want you to take a selfie of you (and any friends, relatives or pets who wish to be included) holding THE NIGHT ITSELF. It doesn't matter which version of the book it is, or if the copy of the book is yours, or if you borrowed it from the library, or a friend - only that you've got it there. Then email your TNI selfie to me at z d marriott (at) g mail (dot) com or tweet it to me (feel free to share it anywhere else that you like as well, because I'm sure you're gorgeous). I'm going to RT each and every one of these lovely pictures on Twitter, and then make a masterpost of them here on the blog to share, because I just want to feel like we're all being happy and excited about the release of FRAIL HUMAN HEART together, OK?
That's it, that's all you have to do - selfie with THE NIGHT ITSELF, and email or tweet it to me. The first ten people to do this get the signed book and swag. And I really hope that when FRAIL HUMAN HEART comes out you'll join in with my excitement, that you'll get hold of a copy, and talk about it online if you enjoyed it (or even if you didn't) but that's not required. It's as simple as that. To recap:
Step One - TNI selfie.
Step Two - Send TNI selfie to Zolah via email or Tweet.
Step Three - PROFIT.
The giveaway will remain open for as long as it takes for all ten books to run out (unless it gets silly) and, as I said above, is for UK readers only, please. Spread the word! Spread your selfies! Spread The Name of the Blade love! Make Zolah a happy writer. Fly free.