You said it, Benedict.
So I've finally come to the end of my time at Oxford. I'm staying here for another month, until the end of term, but there's no more work to do for my degree. I can't believe how quickly the end has come. It's a wonderful feeling to be sitting here blogging, with no more exams ahead of me – although after being in education for most of my life, it's a bit strange not to have an "exam target" of some kind. As a kid you work towards your SATs; as a teen you're aiming for GCSEs and A-Level; late teens and early twenties, you're working on your degree – but for me, it's definitely time to go now. I've run out of study steam. I'll miss being immersed in the beautiful old books I've been able to discover here, but there comes a point when you can just do one too many exams. It's been a wonderful few years, and I feel very fortunate to have had them.
Summer begins now. I'm going to give myself a few days to just come down from the exam cloud, read a few books – real, exciting books, completely unrelated to exams! – and hang around in the sun, but I'm going to start refining my plans for the second book in the Bone Season series tomorrow evening. (Or it it the Scion series? Goodreads has hijacked the series name! And it's actually ... better than mine...) I've yet to give Book 2 a title; I suggested one to Alexa, but as her response was "might be too weird", I may need to amend it. I'm incredibly excited about being able to write again; I've been on a very long sabbatical to concentrate on Finals, which has caused a long, unpleasant withdrawal. Not writing makes me a little bit insane. I have my usual flesh-and-bones structure laid out for Book 2: I know what's going to happen in the beginning, middle and end, but I'll be letting Paige guide me through the rest. I had 50,000 words done, but I've decided to scrap them and start again – it feels like such a long time since I worked on them in the summer, and as they were written during the editing stage of The Bone Season, there are lots of little inconsistencies. I need to shake off the dust and get back into Scion mode. My approximate deadline for the first draft is December, so I have a lot of work to do.
I'm also overwhelmed that The Bone Season has finally got its first readers, and I'm getting my first reviews. This is possibly the most terrifying part of being a début author: waiting to see if readers are going to like your work, knowing that some of them won't, and accepting that as part of the process of being published. Thank you so much to those of you who have left reviews on Goodreads or your personal sites.
Next Thursday I'll be getting ready to fly to New York for BookExpo America 2013. Apart from the Winter Institute, which was solely for trade, this is my first really big public event with The Bone Season. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of bloggers and booksellers, particularly the ones I've already 'met' on Twitter. If you're attending BEA and want to say hi, please do! Here are the events either myself or the book will be attending.
FRIDAY 31 MAY
10:00: Downtown stage. I won't be at this event, but Bloomsbury USA editor-in-chief Nancy Miller will be on the Fiction Mini Buzz Panel to talk about The Bone Season.
11:30 – 12:30: Twitter chat. I'll be answering questions live from the Kobo booth (Booth #1067); tweet your questions to #KoboBEA13.
2:30 – 3 pm: I'll be signing gallies on Autographing Table 22.
SATURDAY 1 JUNE
11 – 11:30: Midtown stage. “New Adult Crossover: From YA to adult and back again”. I'll be talking on a panel with Sarah J. Maas, author of the Throne of Glass series, about crossover between adult and young adult books. We'll be joined by our lovely editors, Rachel Mannheimer and Michelle Nagler.
12 – 12:20: Video chat with ShinDig Events (Booth #2135). Sarah J. Maas and I will be talking about our books and about writing fantasy.
Also, some Big News for tomorrow: at 11AM (EST), Entertainment Weekly will release the official book trailer for The Bone Season. I don't want to spoil it, but the creative team behind it, Tailored Media, have done an amazing job. I was worried about a live-action trailer, thinking it might damage the milieu, but I think it works brilliantly and still allows the reader to imagine their own settings and characters. Keep an eye out and let me know what you think!
I'll be updating again from this Sunday, as usual. Great to be back!