Hurray! It went like a bottle rocket, two months from start to finish. It's not that I wrote it any faster than To Carry the Horn, it's just that I poured more hours into it in a shorter period of time. Book 3 will take a good deal longer, I expect.
While one of my trusty beta readers finishes his reading assignment (“How many inches of snow?” “Give them something stronger than tea to drink, for god's sake” “Not more Welsh names with double L's”), I thought I might spend a few minutes talking about the new work.
Though I work to a high-level plot overview and then semi-detailed outlines as I get to each act, I'm always surprised just how the characters pull the plot into new directions within the framework. Relationships and plot twists which now seem inevitable popped out of thin air on cue, bless their little hearts.
I found that the heavy snow which restricted the movement of the people also influenced me to build a more intimate and enclosed story than I had originally set out to do. I had intended additional plot lines, but something kept paring it down to just the essential core story involving George, and bits of the lutins' story to illustrate what Edgewood was like both before and after the awakening.
I knew that one of the motives for the story would be the rescue of the rock-wight child exploited by the villain, though I didn't know much about Seething Magma and Granite Cloud when I started. It somehow fell out naturally that The Ways of Winter is about a kidnapping, as To Carry the Horn is in some sense about a murder.
George is tested in very dark ways and learns some hard truths at the end about his desire to lead a simple private life. In the third book, he'll start to grow into his political responsibilities.
The next book in the series will take us to the old world and Gwyn's family. It will be a broader work, and longer. You'll get a taste of it when I include its first chapter at the end of The Ways of Winter.