Yes! Question three! Read all about it!

 

Question three:  please, please, please, you ARE going to finish PEGASUS, aren’t you?

Yes.

I both kind of know and kind of don’t know what happened to PEGASUS.

When I started to write it I thought it was only one book.  There’s always a place where a story starts.  I suppose I might have suspected I was in trouble when PEG seemed to have two.  The first is the scene the evening of Sylvi’s birthday, after she’s met Ebon for the first time.  [Note lack of spoilers.  You have to read it.]  The second is when Sylvi and Ebon get back together.

Yes.  Of course they get back together.  I wouldn’t do that to my readers.*  Although I don’t guarantee Technicolour sunsets and perfect harmony all around and the kind of happy ever after that sounds like a bad Sunday-school version of heaven.  I was more or less guilty of that in my first book** and while that’s the way that story goes I’ve never quite forgiven myself.***   Which is also to say I guarantee a lack of Technicolour, in sunsets or otherwise, for the true, final ending of PEG II, III or MCVII.   But Sylvi and Ebon DO GET BACK TOGETHER.  ABSOLUTELY.

Also I realise that my readers don’t know as much about a story I’ve written as I do—ahem—but I assumed, which was stupid of me, that it would be OBVIOUS the end of PEGASUS is not the end of the story, and I apologise for not having an ‘end of part one’ or some such on the last page.  I also apologise for not frelling getting on with the story sooner, but that’s not under my control SIIIIIIIGH.

So what I know of what went wrong is, first, I was completely freaked out that PEG was going to have to be at least two books.   And then it morphed into three.  AAAAAAUGH.  At which point I basically ran away and hid.  I don’t know how to write stories that long!†  I can’t keep that much straight in my head!†† Lately I’ve been sort of oiling around the perimeter and wondering if I could possibly squash it back down to two . . . after all there were only two story-seed-starting places. . . .

The other thing that I know about that went wrong . . . I’ve always had a depressive streak, but till I hit menopause I could always banish it with cookies or a long walk or a self-inflicted whap up longside the head.  Then menopause, when your hormones go berserk anyway, and I couldn’t do that any more.  Plus having recently moved out of the old family house, which by then felt like my old family house too, because Peter was feeling his age;  and watching Peter feel his age more and more—I know I keep bringing this up, but it was such an oppressively big part of our life together because it started so soon.  The first part of EBON pretty well sank like a stone in my own emotional swamp.  Bleauurggh.  Sylvi is having a rough time:  the loss of her pegasus is a crippling wound—the ritual bonding is not just some little hey-presto doodah, plus their relationship was unlike any other—and her country is going to pieces around her.  I know what has to happen, but writing it . . . well.  I’m not ready to write it yet, even now, but I can feel myself getting ready.  Which I can tell you was not true two and a half years ago.

But the short form is:  yes.  I will finish the PEGASUS story.  And yes, Sylvi and Ebon get back together.  And yes it has a happy ending if you don’t require Technicolour.

* * *

* Well . . . I might be tempted to do it to the readers who get in my face—mostly electronically, any more, since I don’t go to conventions—and tell me how to write my stories.  Especially when they’re telling me how to write my stories from a perspective of not liking the McKinley stories they have read for not being the stories they wanted to be reading.  But they are in the MINORITY.  The infuriating minority, but still the minority.  I wouldn’t do that to my GOOD READERS.^

^ Also, I need to earn a living.  This requires that I deliver product that strangers will pay money for.  And, given the current economic climate and royalty rates, that lots of strangers will pay money for.

** BEAUTY.  In case any of you aren’t 100% up on your McKinley.^

^ I’m not.  Just by the way.  And, also just by the way, in answer to some commenter (or it may have been an email to ASK ME A QUESTION), if I would consider a collection of just the Luthe short stories:  there aren’t enough of them.  I don’t think.  I may be forgetting something.  See:  not 100%.  Sigh.  But even if I am forgetting something, I’m not forgetting enough.   I would consider it, I think it’s a good idea, but I’d have to write probably a couple more stories first.  SIIIIIGH.  Add it to the frelling list.

There is at least one Luthe (short) story I know about that I want to write—about how he and Aerin finally come back together.  DON’T GET YOUR HOPES UP.  In the first place, long-time readers will be aware of my near-100% failure, speaking of 100%, to write what I think I’m planning to write, and in the second place, even if this story wanders close enough for long enough for me to stamp the sucker on paper. . . it’s not one of your cheerful, upbeat stories.  Nothing on DIARY, mind you, but still not cheerful.  The trauma isn’t on the scale of DEERSKIN (or DIARY) but those of you who have read it, you know how DEERSKIN ends on a teetery, uncertain, modified happily-ever-after—personally I know that Ossin and Lissar will stay together and love each other for the rest of their lives, but what has happened will never NOT have happened and the past casts a long shadow.  And some scars never completely heal.

Well, now think about Aerin and Luthe:  the two of them getting back together is predicated on Tor dying and Aerin, as no-longer-quite-mortal, giving up, having to give up, everything she has ever known and worked for in her life, including the husband she really, really, really did love, who had been her best friend all her life . . . and whom she will miss every day she is with Luthe  Which Luthe knows.  As well as all the other friends she will lose, because they are mortal.  As well as the burden she now carries with Luthe, the responsibility due to or by her no-longer-quite-mortalness, to try what she can to sort out her messed-up world.

No I’m not frelling political, and I didn’t ‘make’ Damar messed up—I can’t make my stories do anything—because our world is messed up.   But I am very invested in the reality of human beings and what shapes their lives, and the stories that come to me know that or they’d go to someone else.

*** Warning:  do not, on pain of being hunted down and turned into a flower fairy and forced to wear foxglove bonnets and live under toadstools forever^, tell me how much you love BEAUTY especially the happy ending, and you wish I’d do it again.  I’m never going to do it again.  Among other sins, I was very young when I wrote BEAUTY, and even at twenty-four I thought the ending was a bit much.

^ and if this fate doesn’t fill you with horror, please go away, this blog is not for you.

†  Look, look!  I’ve FINALLY imported some footnote symbols!!!!  And I can hardly wait to find out which ones the current WordPress won’t support.  It had hissy fits all over the (symbolic) landscape last time, and there were all kinds of glorious squiggles I couldn’t use.

ANYWAY:  Some of you may remember reference to One of the Many Third Damar Novels^, KIRITH.  That was, I think, the first to be third, if you follow me . . . and one of the things that went wrong with it is that it wanted to be more than one book and I freaked out and botched the first volume—and my publisher turned it down.  Sigh.  It’s still in a box under my desk.

^ Ah.  And while we’re on the subject . . . Damar was NEVER a trilogyNEVERMake a note.  Some culpable fu—I mean di—I mean sh—I mean . . .  idiot at my publishing house decided that it would punch up the advertising to call it a trilogy, and if I knew who it was I’d’ve turned him+ into a flower fairy and then sent a large hungry Gila monster down to his end of the garden decades ago.  Some poor commenter who is now, reading this, deciding to take a profound interest in Early Renaissance poetry and leave the modern fantasy thing alone, asked after ‘the long delayed third of the Damar trilogy’ recently.  ARRRRRRGH.  I used to say that Damar was a series of indefinite length . . . which I suppose, at two books, it is . . . but that was when I still thought I’d be writing a few more before its first readers grew up and became grandparents.  I’m still planning on writing more about Damar, and if I wrote all the Third Damar Novels I have notes on . . . it wouldn’t quite be GAME OF THRONES but it wouldn’t be short either.

+ Of course it was a him.  Mutter mutter mutter mutter.

†† The Damarian Series of Indefinite Length would have gone on^ as it started—hopping around both in time and territory, and with some but not a lot of unpredictable overlap of characters.  Luthe, I think, is the only one who would have turned up at all regularly, and never as much more than a prod to move story or current characters in some other direction.  So it still wouldn’t be a proper series.

^ Or will go.  You never know.  I never know.

27 thoughts on “Yes! Question three! Read all about it!”

  1. Thank you for confirming that there will be more Pegasus.

    As far as happy endings, I like the quieter ones, and I adore the spin you put on Rose Daughter. And Spindle’s End, for that matter.

    PS Now we have to do math to post? You do know that robots are supposed to be good at math. Luckily, so am I.:-)

  2. I’m entirely unsure as to why people would be letting you know what they think you should write, as if they were astute enough, surely they would be writing for themselves?
    They should leave it well enough alone, however that is only my opinion. (I often state this on the internet these days, as many an argument could break out if not stated)

    I have loved your books to date, and have never commented prior to a Twitter message saying I couldn’t get onto the blog, I’m quite happy to wait until the majestic lands you have created can grow before I am allowed to visit.

    I am however very pleased that Pegasus will be continued, but must admit that I have made my own ending for the time being, considering I am highly OCD, however I know yours will be the right ending to the right book at the right time.

    Thank you for all your effort to bring these books to us, I will be passing your books down to my youngsters one day, in the hopes that it will ignite the same fiery interest and passion for reading as I have.

  3. “…and if this fate doesn’t fill you with horror, please go away, this blog is not for you.” ::falls down laughing:: Hmm, maybe I need to start using this as a test for possible friends. “You have been turned into a flower fairy and wear foxglove bonnets and live under toadstools. Does this sound like A) a nice idea, or B) A fate worse than death?”

    Also, huzzah for the return of dagger footnote markers!!!

  4. As to my question about the “long-delayed third volume,” the reason I thought “Blue Sword” and “Hero and the Crown” were the first two of a trilogy was not just that the publishers said so. It was because of the prophetic dreams Aerin had after she defeated Agsded, one of which was not covered anywhere that I’ve been able to find in your other writings. It was the one about three guys, Tommy and Leo and another who wasn’t named, who appeared to be trying to dig their way through a mountain–mining engineers, perhaps? I would really have liked to find out who they were and what they were up to. But if you won’t or can’t write about them, that’s entirely up to you. Your writing, like your knitting, is your own.

    About “Beauty”: that was the first of your books that I read (my daughter brought it home from the high school library), and the one that got me started looking for your other stuff. I enjoyed it very much EXCEPT for the ending, which struck me as way too pat. Too “fairy-tale” to match the otherwise straightforward style.

    I trust I have escaped the doom of the foxglove bonnet?

  5. I don’t care what you write next (although I have a yearning for more Kes), so long as I can live in hope that there will be more books for me to rush out and buy and devour and re-read forever. You are and remain my favorite author. I wish you peace and a return of joy. May Peter’s name be for a blessing, as they say in my congregation.

  6. This blog made me squee. Thank you 🙂 I am also excited to rush out and buy whatever you publish next, whichever universe it’s in.

  7. I will dare to say under threat of unspeakable consequences that I did love Beauty, although I did think that the ending was a bit…implausibly neat and tidy. It was the first fairy tale retelling I had ever read, and as someone who loved fairy tales but had run out of them (having read all of the collections available at my library, and pre-internet!), it opened my eyes to a whole new type of story. So I will always be fond of it for that eye-opening moment. I’ve read many other fairy tale retellings since then (as well as that whole exciting genre I discovered when looking up fairy tale retellings, which was…fantasy!!), but a first is a first. (I also discovered around the same time The Hero and the Crown, and also The Blue Sword, and at some point realized that all three were by the SAME PERSON, and that’s the first time I remember having the epiphany that I could look up an author I liked and thus quite possibly find more than one book that I liked! So firsts in all sorts of ways.)

    So while I appreciate that you will not write more books like Beauty, for all sorts of reasons I’m thankful you wrote it.

  8. I actually really appreciated the end of Deerskin (especially knowing you know they’re together in the end! That’s how I imagine it). Because some hurts never do fully heal. And yes, what has happened will never not have happened. I get so frustrated with stories where an abused character suddenly gets her prince and it’s like nothing bad ever happened. Or oh, the abuser is sorry, so everything is fine. No. Life isn’t like that. Some hurts never heal. Sometimes there’s no going back. And a horrible abusive person doesn’t just apologize and everything be fine.

    So yes, it’s a difficult read. But. I love Deerskin. Oddly enough, it’s comfort reading for me. So is Sunshine. And Shadows. I don’t know what this says about me, but I find it slightly disturbing. 😉

  9. I have to admit, I love Beauty.
    But I love the Damar books more.
    I love Pegasus more.
    And most of what I love about them is their unfinished quality–the kind that echoes into a future not quite seen but THERE, if the author wanted to bring her readers in and show them the chiaroscuro view, and most of the beauty and hauntingness about it is the fact that the reader doesn’t know what lies ahead–except that it will be beautiful and haunting. And the not-knowing makes it better to imagine.
    Also, since I first read Hero and the Crown when I was 13 and really really into tragic endings, I just ate up that bittersweet finale. I didn’t want a reconciliation. It was perfect as it was, and I wholly endorse your decision never to write any more Technicolor endings. At 19, the existence of Technicolor endings seems kinda futile as well tbh.

  10. I truly think Deerskin is my favorite of your books–life is so far from perfect.

    I’d love to see another Beauty and the Beast story. Beauty became Rose Daughter…what would another telling become?

  11. I suppose, given the often dubious relationship if jacket illustrations and flap copy to the actual book, that it’s not surprising that the piblicity department would decide to throw “trilogy” into the mix. After LOTR, ad despite Tolkien’s insistence that he wrote one long book, not three shorter ones, trilogies became The Thing. And of course we all know that three is a magic number and is probably encoded in our DNA. How could they resist? Probably anyone who’s written two books set in the same general locale is DOOMED.

  12. There is probably a word for this, but I don’t know it: I am so happy for you that you are able to start writing again. The last few years have been… I can only imagine how hard they’ve been (and frankly, I do imagine it: my partner is 24 years older than I am. He doesn’t have all the health problems yet, but they’re starting. When we got together he was a youthful mid-50s man; he is now a mid-60s man with arthritis that is making life difficult, increasing depression and other general complaints. I’ve followed your journey with Peter with a breaking heart for you, and fear for me.) and that you are starting to be able to write must feel like regaining a sense you had lost. Or breathing air that has all the bits you need, instead of missing some part of the mix. I’m selfishly happy you are writing again (it took me a month to realise the blog had restarted, gives me more to read) but am also just glad that a fellow human being is regaining something so important to her.

    1. Thank you. But . . . forgive me, by biases are showing . . . *look into alternative* for your husband. I would swear on a stack of Bibles that if I’d managed to convince Peter to do more of this (he would do some, to please me), and less letting conmed (conventional medicine) mess him around, he’d still be here, and in half okay shape. Alternative IS NOT EASY. And it’s no guarantee. But it gives you some other choices. And I will swear on that same stack of Bibles it’s why I’m still breathing, and furthermore have *some* hope for a future.

      1. I fully agree re: conmed and alternative, as does he. The arthritis is proving challenging (it’s osteo, the type that doesn’t regress) and his father had it as well – had the depression as well, we’ve discovered. He is very much a holisitc health person, so his approach is everything from diet and supplements to yoga and other forms of exercise. He doesn’t prioritise self-care, though he knows it would help him, but he’s one of those ‘I can take care of myself after I’ve finished fixing the world’ type people.

        The reminder to keep the ‘alternative’ in mind is a good one, thank you. Choices are so, so very necessary to health. And health is so not a straight line.

        1. Health is *so* not a straight line!!! It’s not strictly true that osteoarthritis never regresses . . . is homeopathy on your list? If you’d been reading my old blog for a while you’ll know homeopathy is the first place I go–and the grand old classic remedy causticum has arthritis, depression, and saving-the-world-itis in its ‘picture’. Don’t take my word for it! Also, have you tried cell salts? They really can work miracles for structural stuff. One of my knees . . . I was told by both a doctor and an osteopath there was nothing could be done, I’m old, it’s worn out, get in the queue for a knee replacement. Self-prescribed a cell salt (homeopathy, beyond simple first aid, is nightmarishly complex, and should be left to the professionals says a long-time amateur who uses it all the time, but you can buy a basic book on cell salts and read up) and it’s taken about a *year*, but my knee is about 90% better. They Say It Can’t Be Done. Don’t listen to them! Keep looking. And good luck!

  13. Personally, it was always clear to me that Pegasus was not a stand-alone, and I have always been and will continue to be perfectly content to wait for any sequel/s – or any other books. Your work is worth any wait!

    And as a writer who’s struggled with depression, I’m extra-glad to hear you’re feeling better – both out of basic empathy and because being a writer who can’t write has always been one of the worst feelings I know.

    Also, seconding/whatever-ing all the comments above about dearly loving your realistically complicated endings. I like happy endings, but not cotton-candy-happy – no flower fairies, please! Deerskin is very dear to me, and part of that is the power of its ending, the acknowledgement that a happy ending doesn’t – can’t – erase everything that came before it. Or the open-ended endings, like Dragonhaven and Sunshine, which stand alone (at least, I’ve never expected sequels to either), but leave you with such a sense of the story going on past the final pages. Whatever we have to go through to get there, I’m confident the ending of the Pegasus series will be exactly right for that story 🙂

  14. Hallelujah on the third book of the Pegasus trilogy (although I read the first, I cannot find the second ANYWHERE–aughh!).

    I have read Spindle’s End and the Damar novel countless times, so many I’ve lost true count. They are among the books I turn to when my life hits troubles.

    Am also very glad you are starting to write again.

    1. Hi! You seem to have misunderstood…

      Robin has confirmed that PEGASUS is not intended to be a standalone novel, and that there will *at some point* be an ending to the story. This MIGHT require two additional books, but, as she wrote above, she may be able to “squash it back down to two”.

      However, only PEGASUS (book one) is currently available.

  15. I’m so glad to hear that we’ll get more of the Pegasus story, and I am intrigued by the continuation of Aerin and Luthe’s story. I’m also really looking forward to more Kes!

  16. I admit, I read Beauty at 14 and the end made me wonder how all those people felt about magically having a ruler again after ruling themselves. And at 45 I still wonder it when I reread it for the whoknowshowmanyth time. Still adore it anyway. Such a grand book.

    Have you considered Patreon? I cheerfully toss petty cash at several of my favorite authors, and from what I hear it mostly isn’t a living, but it is just enough to smooth the rough edges over. The rewards (for me) range from a short story a month from one monstrously prolific writer to a random snippet to nothing whatsoever from one of them other than an occasional note to say Hi to her patreon followers. If you wanted to be hardcore evil, you could type up short passages from your various stories tossed under the bed and then never follow up with books. lol (Although then people would email you about those too, so maybe that would be masochistic evil.) Or some of the random geographic or people facts from Damar or Sunshine’s world or the Shadows world. Or the lyrics to your favorite folk songs for long walks. Trust me, we fans throw money at authors just to ensure that more books arrive.

  17. I do love Beauty. But also Rose Daughter and Outlaws and Pegasus and…you get the idea. And I really do love Deerskin. It’s not something I can read every day but it just…sinks into my soul a bit. In a good, hope-after-trauma way.

  18. Oh! It was SO GOOD to read the answer this blog entry, the teasers did their work. And as long as Fthoom gets some Ebon dung on the head from a great height, I shall consider that a technicolour rainbow ending. I started rereading it again last night, and I have to say, that first line is bloody brilliant. Yes, I know we all already worship at the feet of the Hellgoddess, but it’s good to be reminded FORCEFULLY every now and again that there’s a REASON. 🙂
    Thanks so much for sharing, and about Luthe and Aerin and all sorts of odds and sods.

  19. I ADORE Deerskin’s ending—there could have been no other ending to that story—as I adore all your complicated, real, heart-rending-and-mending stories.
    And I squealed at a friend about the potential (vague, flittering, all the caveats notwithstanding) furthering of Aerin and Luthe’s story. Aerin is my most-beloved of your heroines (maybe. Except for Beauty [twice] and Harry and Rosie and Sunshine and Mirasol and Lissar and…um) and both of us love her and Tor, and her and Luthe, and all the agonizing in-between-ness of the person she becomes. And the tremendous love she carries for her land and her people, and eventually, slantwise, for herself.

  20. I borrowed Beauty from the school library so often that the entire check-out card was full of my name, but hey, I was 13. 🙂 I still love it, but I love all the others too.

    And this is probably weird, and I hope it’s not rude, but it’s such a comfort to know that one of my all-time favorite authors finds a trilogy too much to keep straight in her head too. Thank you.

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