A certain kind of vindication, a validation, comes with signing a book deal. Someone like Gollancz doesn’t buy your novel unless they believe it is good enough to publish. Knowing this will patch up the shaky confidence of any writer, at least for a time. However, writing a novel good enough for Gollancz is only the beginning, because when you’ve signed up for a trilogy, you sort of have to do it again.
There’s a big difference between knowing a thing and experiencing it. I’ve often learned this the hard way, and it’s one of the themes of The Relic Guild, a book that took me two and half years to write. Actually, no – it took me two and a half years to finish. Other stories were written during that time, I took breaks from writing altogether, and when I did work it was at a leisurely, relaxed pace. In fact, writing The Relic Guild was no more stressful than deciding which sort of cake I would eat with my cup of tea, primarily because there was no deadline.
Dead. Line. Sounds sinister, doesn’t it?
I always knew that getting a book deal would mean that any sequels had to be written to a deadline, but I’m not sure anything can prepare an author for how it will affect them when it happens. Signing that contract carries a responsibility, which I understood straight away, and was ready to shoulder. There was a whole year and a quarter to go before deadline, and that was plenty of time to get book two written. No worries! You should have seen how carefree and confident I was at the beginning. I only wish that I had a before and after picture to show you.