Thursday, March 15, 2012

The last time I'll answer this question

From: Sue Reilly

I can only assume you’ve been asked this many times, so I apologize up front. But, are you planning another adventure for Aud? I miss her terribly. Thank you.

You're right, I've been asked this question a million times. I try to never say never, but the odds of me writing another Aud book anytime soon are slim. I love Aud, love being in her head, but I'm so wrapped up in my current work--about a woman of the seventh century, Hild--that I just can't imagine pulling away long enough to get back to Aud.

Plus there are other reasons. I explain some of the more personal in my interview with Cobalt:

I gave Aud a love interest who is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis late in [Always]. When I realised where it was going I nearly stopped working on the book.

I hate having MS (no one in their right mind would enjoy it). It already takes up too much space in my life. I most certainly didn’t want it taking up all the air in my work, too. But that’s what my story brain brought me. I told myself that, just as Aud’s grief wasn’t my grief, was different in many respects, Aud’s love’s MS was not my MS. I did the work.

Always is where the story stops, for now. There are several reasons for calling a temporary halt–I’ll talk about the main one later–but one is certainly that to go on would mean having to examine what it’s like to love someone with MS. I’d have to dissect how it might be for my partner, Kelley, to love me. I’d be spending my entire artistic life dwelling on a disease I loathe in order to separate reality from fiction. And, in the end, no matter what I said in the Author’s Note, half my readers would secretly believe the novel was about me.

(There's more about Aud--and many other things--in that interview. Read it here.)

But there are brutally practical publishing reasons, too. All three Aud books came from--and are still available from--different publishers (The Blue Place is Perennial, Stay is Vintage, Always is Riverhead). For a series, this is impractical at best and career death at worst. They look different; they were sold differently; readers had--still have--no clue that each book was part of something greater. Until this changes, trying to sell a fourth would be madness. I hope one day to buy back the rights to those three books and publish them coherently, as they deserve, with unified jackets, marketing, and so on. If I do that, it's entirely possible that I will feel motivated to write a fourth. (I have books four and five roughed out in my head.) So, yes, while one day there might be more Aud it won't be for quite a while.

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