Friday, 2 May 2014

Sword of the North Finished

Or at least the first draft is finished. I sent it off to my agent two days ago. It came to just under 140,000 words, or 535 manuscript pages.

This has been a really difficult book to write. Shortly after finishing The Grim Company, I became ill for several months. Then my wife got ill, or rather, developed a chronic condition that took some time adjusting to cope with. To cut a long story short, I didn't really get back to writing until near the end of 2012. It turns out that taking a six month break from writing is a bad idea - like a muscle, writing craft has to be utilised often or it begins to atrophy.

In my case, I found myself doing a lot of rewrites after being unhappy with my initial 35,000 words. Then, after The Grim Company was released, I became caught up in reading reviews and evaluating criticism, and that led to further revisions. A lot of world-building was also required to bridge the first and third books, and indeed support any additional volumes or tie-in projects (like video games) I might wish to turn my hand to further down the line. I wrote The Grim Company in 10 months, creating the setting on the fly, so I didn't have hundreds of pages of notes to fall back on.

All in all, I'm fairly pleased with how Sword of the North turned out - though I had to shift some of the material I had planned to include back to the third and concluding volume. Now begins the nervous wait to hear back from my editors. Hopefully they'll love it, and a late 2014 release will maybe, just maybe, become a possibility. I wouldn't bank on it, but we'll see.

In the meantime, The Grim Company has made it to the final shortlist for the Gemmell Morningstar Awards! You can vote for me (or not) here:

The voting ends May 31st, so be sure to drop a vote before then.


  1. Literally just finished The Grim Company about two minutes ago and just had to look you up and see if you had another book coming out. Extremely excited to see that you will! I came across The Grim Company while browsing a library and figured I would give it a shot. Wow…is all I have to say. This book surpassed any expectations I may have had. I will be waiting impatiently for the the Sword of the North!

  2. I didn't know about this book until a month ago and I wish I had!. I LOVED it! Being a 20 something girl, the vulgarity took me by surprise but I was fine with it after a few pages. I liked how the characters had a background story, they felt like real people I could sympathize with. My favourites are Kayne, (even Yllandris, Sasha & Jerek) Cole, and especially Emerul (is it weird I felt attracted to him? :D) must be his magic, and his sense of humor. *Ahem* anyway, I loved the humor, please keep it up! I had some laugh out lout moments I hadn't have with other fantasy books I've read in the past. I truly enjoyed reading this book, definitely looking forward to the second book! Please take care and don't get sick :)

  3. Chris - Thanks a ton. Sorry for taking so long to reply - it's been a mad few months.

    paralyzer - Glad you enjoyed the book, and especially pleased the humour worked for you. Don't worry, I'm not sick any more. :)