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Whew..... What a year.

It's my birthday! And one of the most common responses I've had is that I've had an incredible year. Which put me in mind of trying to capture it. And it's Friday and blog day and....

Where was I at the turn of 2015? Well, I had an agent and a book out on submission. I had a three book deal with my first book coming out in March. I had my first publisher edit ahead - although, to be fair, I had been edited by Teresa Edgerton before and knew she at least liked the book. Things were looking exciting and, at the same time, daunting.

Why daunting? Well... Writers, by our nature, can be nervy. Last January only a handful of people had read either Abendau's Heir or Inish Carraig - mostly close writing friends whose role is to be critical. I had no idea how either would be received - particularly Abendau with its dark, dark themes. Since Kare had been the character I'd started writing to capture and his world had been building since secondary school, when I needed a place to escape to, I wanted to do him justice.

And then, in January, I lost my agent and things, on the Inish front, were in freefall. It wasn't the auspicious start to the year I wanted. So to come out of that year and be able to say it turned out to be a great year is fantastic (and makes me count every blessing.)

Abendau's Heir was well received. It got the sort of reviews anyone would dream of for their debut book (and gave me a shot in the arm, since I believe book 2 and 3 are stronger). The darkness didn't put people off - in fact, for some readers, it was what set the book apart. I had a launch night with stormtroopers, retail presence, readers. I felt like a real-life writer. I even went to a con and sat chatting to Real Real real-life writers on panels and in the green room. So, like, wow.....

And then I brought out Inish Carraig myself, having just about had enough of changing it for markets and waiting and knocks. A couple of weeks before the launch, when covers were complete and copy edits underway, I received a final critique on the book by a fellow writer. It was, undoubtedly, the most wounding crit I've been given. The book was terrible. The characters didn't work. Josey's storyline - which I loved - added nothing. And as for my depiction of Belfast....

Did I waver? Hell, yes. Betas were called on, and husbands and mums, and confidence was partially restored. A great first review from Brian Turner on the sffchrons helped. I sent Inish out into the big world at the end of August and would love to say I was relaxed this time, but in honesty I was biting my nails and hoping people would like it.

They loved it. The reviews were astounding. The sales were... Okay. Until I did a bookbub promo at which point it went through the roof. As a result, Abendau was picked up by others and now both are riding high. And then I got a contract for my fantasy book, The Waters and the Wild, and suddenly I have writing work until 2017. Really.
So, what about 2016, I hear you ask (assuming anyone's read this far.) Well, March sees the release of Sunset over Abendau. Set ten years after Abendau's Heir, we'll see a very changed set of characters - much more jaded, and still reeling from the events of book one. But we have a new characters, some bringing danger, some opportunity. We also find out the truth of who Ealyn was and the legacy he's left. It's faster paced than book one, with lots of nail-biting chapter ends and it's probably my favourite book - in terms of fun writing - of the trilogy.

In the autumn, book 3 will be out. It will bring things full circle and make a lot of what happened in Abendau's Heir have more relevance. I hope it feels like a trilogy - because that's what it was planned to be - with a three book arc.

In the meantime I'll be writing and promoting (I'm on the radio in 2 weeks, am podcasting with the fab Rob Matheny's Grimtidings, and have some events coming up in March) juggling and, mostly, hoping 2016 is as good as 2015 has been.

But for now, happy Christmas/season's greetings/happy holidays, whatever floats your book, and thanks for all the purchasers, reviews, support and cake. :)


That's wonderful, Jo. So happy for you!
SFF Den said…
Congratulations on a great year Jo.

I am sure you have worked hard and deserve success and recognition!

Looking forward to Abendau's Heir which I am going to review early next year.
Joanne Zebedee said…
Thanks, both! (And yes, it's been a lot of work!)

It'll be interesting to see what you think of Abendau....:)