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My Next Novel: SOMETHING MORE THAN NIGHT

February 19, 2012 at 10:17 am

I've been sitting on this news for a while, because I'm a superstitious weirdo.  (Also because I don't like to talk about things until the contracts are signed.  Call me crazy.)

But anyway, yeah!  I am thrilled beyond words to announce that Tor has purchased SOMETHING MORE THAN NIGHT, my first post-Milkweed novel. Hooray!  Oh Frabjous Day!

Details below the cut.

The title of my next novel, SOMETHING MORE THAN NIGHT, comes from a quote by Raymond Chandler.  In an essay where he looked back to describe some of his earlier short fiction, written before he hit his stride with the Philip Marlowe novels, he said, in part, "The law was something to be manipulated for profit and power.  The streets were dark with something more than night."

The book is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler-inspired murder mystery set in Heaven.  Imagine central casting for a 1930s detective novel juxtaposed with all the strange and terrifying members of the heavenly choir: Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Virtues, Seraphim, Cherubim… Swell dames and femmes fatales, dirty priests and the Voice of God.

I had the idea for this novel quite a while ago, but held off on thinking about it until I'd finished the first draft of NECESSARY EVIL, the third and final Milkweed book.  The new novel began as my treat to myself, a reward for finishing the Milkweed novels.  But I'm still having a ton of fun with this book, all these months later.  This is by far the most fun I've ever had writing a novel, and when the final product hits shelves, I hope that readers will find a similar sense of fun and enjoyment.  This new book is my favorite project of anything I've ever written.

I plan to submit the finished manuscript this summer.  I don't know when the final, finished product will appear—it's a little too soon to start talking about publication dates.  It'll be after NECESSARY EVIL hit shelves (in April, 2013).

I know I've already said this, but I am thrilled as thrilled can be.  I love this book and I'm absolutely delighted that it has a home.  And I hope, when SOMETHING MORE THAN NIGHT finally makes its way into the world, that readers enjoy it, too.

Comments

Mehdi February 19, 2012 at 11:22 am
yeahhhh!!!!! I just saw your post, and it's a fantastic news! I will read it as soon as it will be available. It sounds terrific, and knowing that you had a ton of fun writing this book make it even more interesting. I'm sure I won't be the only one thinking this way.
Steve Halter February 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Congratulations! That sounds really interesting. As you know, I am a Chandler fan and this sounds like a cool take on things. Glad you're having fun writing it.
Jo Anderton February 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Awesome wonderful exciting news! YAY! :)
Alex Brown February 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm
Soooo excited for you! Cannot wait to read it. I know it's going to be fan-fucking-tastic, I mean, how can you go wrong with Heaven-based Dashiell Hammett SFF noir? I want to buy this now. Next time I see you I'm pre-paying for my copy.
Ian February 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm
Thanks, everybody! I'm very happy about this, so the enthusiasm means a ton to me. I really, really hope you enjoy it, Mehdi :) As a reader I find that some of the books I enjoy most are the ones where I feel like the writer's joy is bleeding through the pages. (Although sometimes the punishing 10-year struggle to write the book yields something magnificent, too...) My fondest wish is that readers have that experience with this new book. And Steve, now you know why I've been comparing notes with you on the Chandler books :)
Ian February 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm
Thank you, Alex! I hope it lives up to its potential. I really believe in this one, but it's quite a challenge. (Some day I'll come up with a book that isn't so complicated and overly ambitious. What's that phrase about one's reach exceeding one's grasp, or vice-versa?) If and when the day comes that it makes its way into your hands, I hope it isn't a letdown :)
DMS February 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm
I'm already making a list of people to recommend it to based on that description.
Brit Mandelo February 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm
Oooh, nice! Many, many congrats!
Ian February 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm
Thanks, Dawn. I hope it lives up to expectations, on that far off day when it comes out. Brit, I was looking forward to telling you about this (we chatted about the book at WFC, I think?) since you're a Chandler aficionado :)
Tengland February 20, 2012 at 12:33 am
Angels wearing fedoras, smoking unfiltered cigarettes and drinking two fingers of cheap scotch in heavy-bottomed glasses. Deception, intrigue, false witnesses, dead-end clues, desperate souls. The golden streets sodden like after a storm, though it never rains in heaven. What's not to like? Congrats. Must feel good to know you have a career beyond Milkweed.
Ian February 20, 2012 at 9:07 am
Thank you, Terry. I am very happy to know that there is at least one book coming out after Milkweed.
Kevin February 20, 2012 at 9:13 am
...Sing in Exultation..." Congratulations from me and Randi. And you even have a day off to celebrate!
Ian February 20, 2012 at 9:27 am
Thank you, Kevin and Randi! I am celebrating today by traveling home from Boskone ;-) Right at the moment I'm reveling at gate B34...
Corry L. Lee February 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm
So happy it's official! Congratulations, Ian.
Steve Halter February 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm
By the way, good title.
Brit Mandelo February 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm
Yup. :) I look forward to nudging Tor into giving me a copy when the time comes around.
doug February 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm
Congratulations! Glad it's official. Good seeing you this weekend. Doug (aka Mr. X)
Ian February 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm
Thanks, everybody. Corry and Brit, you were both extremely generous with your time as I blathered on and on about this book back at WFC. You rock. I'm glad you like the title, Steve. I was hoping people would enjoy the Chandler reference. If only I could write like the Drunken Master himself... Thank you very much, Doug! Hope we cross paths again soon.
Rich February 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm
Just finished listening to "Coldest War", stunning! Absolutely awesome. Glad to hear I'll get to read more of your writing in the future. I'll be there, you keep writing, I'll keep buying. I have the original cover "Bitter Seeds" but will be getting the new one, along with a print copy of "Coldest War", for a back to back re-read.
Ian February 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Thanks very much, Rich! I'm delighted that you enjoyed The Coldest War, and I'm deeply grateful for your support and enthusiasm for my work. I hope you enjoy the next books just as much, if not more!
Daniel Abraham February 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Excellent news! And seriously, I can't think of anyone better to take on an idea like this one. I look forward to seeing it.
Ian February 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm
Thanks, Daniel. I'm pretty jazzed about this. It's a challenging project, but I haven't fallen out of love with it yet. I believe in the idea. If the execution holds up, I'll be very proud of this book.
Mari February 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm
Fantastic news, not to mention sounds like something I want to read :)
Ian February 22, 2012 at 9:20 am
Thank you, Mari! Here's hoping the execution lives up to the premise.
YetiStomper February 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm
That sounds terrible. Why would you write something like that? Blegh.... Oh wait, I think I totally misread the room again...stupid lack of social skills! Here's what I'm really thinking - Yay more Tregillian books! Boo waiting! Boobs! It's been a long day...
Ian February 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm
D'oh, you said the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet!
Jaime February 25, 2012 at 9:30 am
Yay, Ian! I'm way behind in keeping up with blogs and news, but this totally rocks. So so happy for you. And it just goes to show TOR continues to have excellent taste.
Ian February 25, 2012 at 9:40 am
Thank you very much, Jaime! In my case, w/r/to Tor, I just figure there's some residual luck at work. In your case, yes! They do have superb taste. So, SO excited to see Delia's Shadow on shelves.
Susan Loyal March 1, 2012 at 11:36 am
Excellent title. I'm so glad you're having fun with it. May I make a request? At some point in the revision process, would you read the manuscript with an eye to where a female reader has to *stand* relative to the text? (Hard to identify with male noir detectives sometimes; frequently impossible to align oneself with "great dames" or femmes fatales; principalities and thrones usually strike me as truly alien.) I admire Chandler without much enjoying the world view, but I have a deep fondness for Hammett. And Robert B. Parker. I'll read the book because you write it. (After all, I read Bitter Seeds and loved it, even though "more occult Nazis" was not a draw for me. Crazy linguist/wizards negotiating with eidolons was a HUGE draw, though.) (Deeply embedding the parenthetical remarks: I recently described a book to my husband as "masculine-ist without being anti-feminist". I'm by no means of the opinion that everything has to be aimed directly and primarily at a female audience. I had a very long and incredibly traditional liberal arts education, so I have altogether too much experience at including myself in the history of mankind as enacted and experienced by men. But I like my fiction with female agency included.) Thank you for your patience with the interruption to our primary programming, which is Yay for You! also whoopee! more Tregillis! (And for pity's sake don't even dare think about any of this until the first draft is done.)
Ian March 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm
Thanks very much! I appreciate the interest and enthusiasm! Actually, I don't think that a modern interpretation of the standard gender relationships is something that should only be considered during the revision process. Which is to say that from the earliest planning stages onward I've tried really, really hard to subvert, or at least comment on, the usual roles. I don't want to say too much about the book right now because it's still early in the process. Suffice it to say that I've given the gender-role issue a lot of thought. I'm not claiming I have it right by any means, but at the very least, and in my defense, it's already something I've thought long and hard about. There is a LOT of female agency in Something More. That's about all I'll say at the moment. ;-) You'd have to ask my beta readers (2/3 female, 1/3 male) how I'm doing in this attempt. Those are the ones reading month-by-month. And I have a couple of specific folks in mind for a read of the entire completed manuscript, if they're willing to do it, partially because of this issue. All in all, I'd say I'm giving it the best effort of which I am capable. Now, whether or not that amounts to a hill of beans in the end...
Susan Loyal March 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm
You've put my mind entirely at rest. ("Right" is a moving target.) I am now looking forward to Something More than Night with great eagerness.
Ian March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm
--on my previous comment, I think there's a better way to phrase it. When I said, "There is a LOT of female agency in Something More," what I meant was that one of my goals for the project has always been that there be a lot of female agency in the book. That honestly was one of the starting points for formulation. (That doesn't mean the end result won't be a horrible train wreck, of course.) The previous statement makes it sound as though I've already achieved that goal. But I'm not that confident in my first drafts. I expect to do lots of revision.
Susan Loyal March 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm
Oh, dear. It sounds like you really have every reason to be quite confident in your first draft. Please be quite confident in your first draft. The concept of the novel is truly nifty. The mere fact that the issue of gender relations in noir detective fiction was part of the original spin-up is almost certainly a guarantee that the end result will be interesting and fun and valuable. I had a knee-jerk reaction that you should forget about entirely. Soon now.
Ian March 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm
I appreciate the confidence! I'm all too aware of how the best intentions can still go horribly, toe-curlingly awry, though... I'm an optimist, as you can tell!
Steve Halter March 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm
That sounds like a very interesting spin on things. That actually fits Chandler pretty well as he was spinning the tropes of his day. That day just happened to be 30's-50's. As I did my read through (of Chandler) I thought it was pretty interesting how he was addressing things that mostly weren't talked about in literature back then. Now, 60 years later ... coolness is envisioned.
Ian March 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm
I *hope* it turns out cool. I'm not that confident. The novel I envision in my head is really nifty... but there's always that damnable gap between theory and experiment.
Sara G. March 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm
Well, the good news just keeps piling up! And I can't help thinking, great, another thing to be impatient for. Effusive congratulations, with much jumping up and down and clapping of hands!
Ian March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm
Thank you very much, Sara! I am very happy about the new book. (We should all quote more Jabberwocky in our lives, shouldn't we?)
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