First, Aud. It has taken years but finally I have the rights back to all three novels about Aud Torvingen, and a US publisher has agreed to release all three in splendid new editions. The publisher is MCD/Picador—a collaboration of MCD (who did So Lucky), which is an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux (who did Hild), and Picador (who did the paperback of Hild).

The audio books will be from Macmillan Audio (who did both Hild and So Lucky), and I’m delighted to be able to tell you I’ll be narrating. That is, I’ll be narrating The Blue Place and, if the production costs work out, perhaps Stay and Always too.1

We don’t yet have a firm date for US publication because that depends on other things, such as the UK publication of the Aud books, and, of course, Menewood (see below). Along with the three already-published novels, I’ll be writing three Aud shorts (well, shortish). I can’t wait to get to those! My hope is that once Menewood is chugging through the production phase, I can turn my attention to writing a fourth Aud novel (there were always meant to be five, I have so many luscious ideas) but for now you can at least rely on the shorts.

Also, the Aud books have been optioned for TV, but I won’t say anymore unless/until there’s something to talk about.

I’ve found myself doing bits and pieces of commissioned short work the last year or so, fiction and nonfiction; disability-related and not. Some of those things will start to appear soon, and I’ll link to them as they’re published. I’ve also been giving serious thought to other book-length projects, two of which I’m pretty sure will happen, eventually, though not just yet, because I have Menewood to finish.

Ammonite will finally be released as an audiobook, by Tantor Audio. I don’t know when but my guess would be early next year. I won’t be narrating that but I know who will, and she’s great.

Most of you have been very patient about the second Hild novel. Yes, Menewood is taking a long time—far, far longer than I imagined; far, far longer than I’ve ever taken with a single novel. It’s a long (looooong) and complicated book that I don’t want to read as long and complicated. In the story many, many things happen to Hild—the kind of stuff that would make most human beings curl up and die of despair. But I’m not a fan of misery lit, I don’t like reading it and I hate writing it. My philosophy is that characters should only be hollowed out by sadness in order to be filled with joy. So I’ve spent time finding Hild a good, clear emotional path that is both realistic and an immersive, enthralling read, just as (I hope) Hild was, with much joy and discovery and learning and building to balance the horrors of destructive regime change. That takes research time, thinking time, and writing time. The hardest part of the writing? Grief. So many people have to die, because History says so. And every time I reckon the effect of a new grief for Hild, I have to face my own current grief. And then we have to keep meeting many new important new characters—again because History says so. And some of those have to die, too, because— Never mind.

So I’m working. That work has, of course, been seriously impeded by health stuff, by grief—oh, so much grief (which does not, not help with the characters-who-keep-dying stuff)—politics, disability work, doing a PhD, writing a completely unrelated book, and, now, kittens (including rehabbing one with an acquired brain injury). But I am working, and my hope is that I will have a workable draught by September next year. If so, it’s possible there could be an actual finished copy of the book in your hands for the holidays, 2021. Admittedly it’s a faint possibility, but that’s my goal, and it’s one I dearly want to meet. So, yes: working!

This is going to mean saying No a lot in the next year. I’ll talk more about that next time.

  1. Apparently Seattle is just about the most expensive city in the US for studio time—and finding a studio that is wheelchair accessible makes everything cost even more. So if anyone out there has a good, accessible studio I can use—I have my own engineer, I think—please let me know! Otherwise I might have to travel out of town for a week or two which is just more time away from Menewood.