Only one week (holy yipe!) until the launch of “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)” (the Kindle e-book of which is currently available for pre-order, by the way!). To mark* the occasion (*you’ll see in half-a-sec what I did, there), have a look at this gorgeous piece of work from my treasured Wilderhark Artist, Yana Naumova!
Yep, the West Wind gets a bookmark, this time around (which naturally will feature among the prizes in my Launch/Farewell Party giveaway). And high goodness, those colors! *breathes deep of her living air in awe*
Alrighty. Sit ye down, now. Candid chat time.
Some readers have expressed to me that they don’t care for Vesparya, particularly much – at least in conjunction with her love interest gained in Book Six. Come to that, there’s been a fair amount of reader discontent with Book Six in general (along with gratifying reports of reader satisfaction. Subjectivity at work, y’all. ;D). While this is in part due, I think, to a human audience not necessarily “getting” the Welken ethic, it’s also largely to do with the book’s ending.
Wilderhark Tales One through Five concluded with the good ol’ HEA – Happy Ever After. They were simple. They were sweet.
“Surrogate Sea” didn’t play that way.
“Whyever not?” Gant-o’-the-Lute speaks for the people, thrusting an imaginary microphone beneath my nose. “Why break with the tried-and-true formula, author? Were you going for edginess? Shock value?”
Truth be told, I wasn’t going for anything. I just followed the story where it led me, same as ever.
Well, no. Not quite the same.
With Books Two through Five, I had a plan. (Not so much for Book One. That one came before my time as a plotter.) With Book Six, I had ideas. The characters had motivations. The South Wind certainly had a plan, scheming sort that he is. But nobody knew what the ending would hold. It was an ending born not of plans, but of consequences.
Readers may not realize it, since the series got published so fast – eight books in under three years, it’ll soon be – but quite a bit of time passed between the writing of Books One and Six. Heck, there was a significant gap just between Books Four* and Six.
(*Fun fact: I actually wrote “Sun’s Rival” before circling back to “Song Caster”. Lute was not amused.)
Within that passage of time, I changed. (As living people will do.) And when an author changes, stories different than before will tend to find her. I used to have a simple, sweet, Happy Ever After kind of heart.
I don’t anymore. At least, not all the time.
I can still enjoy such tales, presented by others. But the words inside me no longer gravitate toward such an optimistic direction. Now, people die. People lose. People live the conseqences of their (sometimes really ill-advised) choices. No good thing lasts forever. Not every affliction can be magicked away with a kiss. And not even my fairytales can avoid the truth of that.
Hence “The Surrogate Sea”.
And hence “The Story’s End”.
It’s okay if you miss the old me. I miss her, too, sometimes. But it is my hope that going in with fair warning will prepare readers to take the final Wilderhark Tale as it is, not as they might otherwise have expected it to be. I’m not looking to pull the rug out from under anyone. I’m just telling the story I saw, though it break my heart a hundred times to do so.
The new me finds a measure of pleasure in heartbreak written well. Perhaps you’ll find that you do, too.
For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.
“The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf – pre-order for Kindle – nab on Nook – call forth in paperback form via CreateSpace … Basically, waiting to book blast this baby on Launch Day is optional. ;D