First things first: today is the official release day for I Don’t Want to Kill You, the third and final book in the John Cleaver trilogy. As much as I love the first two, the third book is my favorite: it has my favorite character, my favorite ending, and my favorite reactions. Mr. Monster was the book that my friends read and said “Dan, you really scare me.” I Don’t Want to Kill You is the book my friends read and say “Dan, I hate you and I can’t believe you did this to me and when are you writing the next one?” Don’t let that comment fool you: this is the end of the series, and the plot you’ve been following for three years comes to a solid resolution. When friend and fellow author Seanan McGuire finished the book she said: “You stuck the landing, and you stuck it HARD.” I won’t leave you hanging. But that’s not to say that I won’t someday come back and tell a new story with these characters….
The book lauch will be tonight, Tuesday March 29, at Sam Weller’s in Salt Lake City at 6pm. I’ll be signing at the Orem Barnes & Noble tomorrow night at 7, and then heading off on a month-long tour; full details are on my website calendar. I’ve also added to that calendar every con appearance I have scheduled for the rest of the year, including some very big events: WorldCon, DragonCon, World Fantasy, etc. If you’re going to be at any of those, look me up.
Now, on to the other piece of exciting news: the long-awaited revelation of the Mystery Project I’ve been teasing you with for months. Remember when I always used to say “no one will knock on your door and ask you to write a book”? Well, I can’t really say that anymore.
Several months ago, my agent was talking to a friend at Harper Teen about how they were looking for a solid YA post-apocalypse series, and they didn’t really have any in the pipeline; my agent, being awesome, said “I’ve got an author who could KILL a YA post-apocalypse series,” and promptly called me. Within a few hours I was emailing the editor, resulting in a phone call with two editors, resulting in me pitching them an idea for a series about genetic manipulation, engineered plagues, and semi-human armies (at this time I was in the middle of writing my cloning book, Extreme Makeover: Apocalypse Edition, so genetics were on my mind). They liked the ideas, we kicked around a few other options, and before I knew it we were signing a contract for a trilogy.
The first book in the series, which I have finished and which my editors, Jordan Brown and Ruta Rimas, are currently reviewing, is called Partials, a reference to the semi-human army I mentioned earlier. It starts about eleven years after the Partials released a plague that destroyed mankind, all but wiping our civilization off the face of the earth. The North American survivors have gathered (and may have been herded) to Long Island, where they are struggling to cure the plague and save their species. The main character is a girl named Kira, a 16-year-old medical student, determined to unravel the mystery of the plague, the Partials, and everything else.
Partials comes out sometime in 2012, the same year as my schizophrenia book The Hollow City; I don’t know the exact date, but my guess is either Spring or Fall, which narrows it down to about half a year, which doesn’t really tell you anything. The manuscript for the first book was due in the first of March, after signing the contract sometime in November, which meant the turn-around for the book was insane: I had to plot out the trilogy, craft the characters, outline the first book, and write it, all in about three and a half months. It was nuts, but I’m really proud of the results. The second manuscript is due in the first of March next year, which will be much easier to hit. I’m hoping I can go back to Extreme Makeover and finish it by the end of summer, about five months from now, which will give me six months to finish the second Partials book; since the world has already been created, and the overall plot is already in place, the prep work for Partials 2 (not the real title, obviously) will be pretty light. Extreme Makeover will be a Tor book (my editor Moshe is incredibly excited about it), and I’m hoping to arrange the situation such that I can put out two books a year: a YA from Harper and an adult book from Tor. In 2012, in between writing the second and third Partials book, I plan to start a new series set in the John Cleaver universe, which should make a lot of you very happy. So now you know what I’m working on for the next two years—with the caveat, of course, that I am an excitable man, and fickle in my writing tastes, so don’t be surprised if I end up taking a few months in the middle somewhere to write something else for no good reason.
So that’s the news. I hope you can all join me on my tour in April, to talk about John Cleaver or Partials or The Hollow City or anything else. Also, stay tuned tomorrow when I announce the crazy dumb thing I’m trying to do while on tour. A gauntlet will be thrown.