An Interview with Tad Williams, part 4

Like Tad Williams, we tried to keep it to three parts, but it ended up being four. Below is Part Four of OstenArd.com’s interview with internationally bestselling speculative fiction writer Tad Williams, author of the “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, “Otherland”, “Shadowmarch” and “Bobby Dollar” books, and who recently announced the completion of the first draft of The Witchwood Crown, the first volume of a series of sequel novels to his classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” trilogy, called “The Last King of Osten Ard“. The Witchwood Crown is tentatively slated for a Spring 2016 release.

Part OnePart TwoPart Three

The below questions were asked by readers on the Tad Williams Message Board and by OstenArd.com contributors. In this part of the interview, we asked Williams about publication plans for print and audiobooks, plans for re-releases of the classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” books, and what, if anything, he has found challenging about writing a much-older Simon, Miriamele, Binabik, and the rest of the crew.

Tad Williams' novels have long been available as audiobooks in Germany. Now "The Last King of Osten Ard" will get an English-language audiobook.

Tad Williams’ novels have long been available as audiobooks in Germany. Now “The Last King of Osten Ard” will get an English-language audiobook, Williams reveals.

OstenArd.com: Tad, the new series will certainly be a major publishing event, and deals have been announced for the US and the UK. Are there any other deals in place that you can talk about? Have plans been put in place on how the new books are going to be published and/or marketed? Will there be audiobooks?

Tad Williams: I’m sure there will be audiobooks in English and German, although I don’t know any details yet. All other stuff, I really don’t know. Deb [Tad’s wife and business partner Deborah Beale] probably knows more than I do, because I’m doing my best just to get the books written.

OA.com: Will there be re-issues of the original trilogy? Hardcover reprint? Audiobooks? Any news on that front?

Tad: Same answer. But, yes, we’re pushing for a re-release.

OA.com: In the “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” reread on the Tad Williams Message Board, we had a lot of fun tracking down references to mythology/history/other books – can we expect more of that in “The Last King of Osten Ard”? Is there a reference you particularly liked in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” and that no one mentioned to you yet? Any still hidden Easter-egg?

Tad: I honestly have no idea if there are any Easter eggs that have escaped the laser-focus-bunnies of the message board. I’ll keep an eye open when I do another re-read (which I think I’ll have to do before I commit to the first volume as finalized), and if I see something, I’ll let you know. Besides, it’s better when you guys find these things on your own, because then even if I never intended it, I can look wise and nod my head: “Ah, yes, that. Very clever, wasn’t I?”

Simon and Miriamele gained a throne thirty years ago... How have their experiences changed them over the decades?

Simon and Miriamele gained a throne thirty years ago… How have their experiences changed them over the decades?

OA.com: Were there any aspects of writing a 30-years-older Simon or Miriamele (or any other character from “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” who reappears in “The Last King of Osten Ard” for that matter) that you found surprising or challenging or surprisingly challenging?

Tad: Too early to say, really, because a lot of this will be not just who the characters are at the beginning, but how they change during these books, as they did during MS&T. But it’s all challenging, because we know these characters as young people. The difference between a teenager and a middle-aged adult is almost like two different people. But I think I’ll be able to tell you more when I’m actually done — rewrites and all — with this first volume, because it’s in rereading Witchwood Crown AS A NOVEL that will tell me a lot about whether Simon and Miriamele’s older selves feel real and appropriate.

 

[Ed.: This concludes our multi-part interview with Tad Williams. We’d like to take a moment to thank Tad Williams and Deborah Beale for their time, and all the friendly folks on the Tad Williams message board, who asked a lot of great questions.]

Tad Williams completes first draft of “The Witchwood Crown”, new Osten Ard book

Bestselling international fantasy/sci-fi author Tad Williams was set to complete the first draft of The Witchwood Crown on Tuesday, his wife and business partner, Deborah Beale, announced on Twitter on Tuesday morning.

The Witchwood Crown is the first volume of “The Last King of Osten Ard”, a sequel trilogy to the original classic epic fantasy series “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, set thirty years after the original books. Beale and Williams have kept fans up to date on a regular basis (a list of monthly page counts can be found here), with news of progress happening nearly every week.

The Dragonbone Chair, book 1 of Memory Sorrow and Thorn

Cover of The Dragonbone Chair, the first volume of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”.

Reaction to the news of a new Osten Ard series has been very positive, with Daniel Kaszor of The National Post writing, “The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series […] redefined what traditional fantasy could be. Williams took the basics of Tolkien, deconstructed the story and put it back together in his own image, one fit for modern times.” Kaszor also points out the influences that “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” had on “Game of Thrones”. Meanwhile, Charlie Jane Anders of io9.com writes that “it’s great news that Williams is returning to the series that made his name”.

“The Witchwood Crown” is expected to be published in Spring 2016, and will be followed by Empire of Grass and The Navigator’s Children. The books will be illustrated by Michael Whelan, who painted the original covers of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”.

Tad Williams completes 800 pages of “The Witchwood Crown”, releases partial character list

On his official message board today, bestselling speculative fiction author Tad Williams (The Dragonbone Chair, Tailchaser’s Song) posted a progress update on his manuscript of The Witchwood Crown, volume one of his planned three-book return to Osten Ard, “The Last King of Osten Ard”, sequel to the classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series.

Williams revealed that he will have completed 800 pages of the manuscript this weekend. “I’ll crest 800 pages this weekend, I think, God willing and the river don’t rise,” he wrote, after much flooding in the Bay Area. The page count likely refers to manuscript pages rather than published book pages.

Williams, one of the most respected names in speculative fiction and whose fans include Christopher Paolini and George R. R. Martin, also released a partial character list for the new series, 34 of which are new characters, and the remaining 18 are characters who originally appeared in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. Several of these 18 listed characters died in the original series, so they are likely only mentioned in passing in the new book, rather than zombie resurrections, although Williams has been known to resurrect characters who were long thought dead, as fans of his work well know.

Cover of The Dragonbone Chair, book 1 of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

Simon, Binabik and Miriamele will be returning in “The Witchwood Crown”, Book One of “The Last King of Osten Ard”.

Returning characters include fan favorites Simon, Miriamele, Binabik, Aditu and Jiriki. Also apparently returning, at least as mentions in the book, are Duke Isgrimnur, Prince Josua, Tiamak, Lady Vorzheva, Pasevalles, Akhenabi, Jeremias, Count Eolair, Prince Hakatri, Sisqinanamook, and of course everyone’s favorite 10,000-year-old ice queen Utuk’ku Seyt-Hamakha, who is believed to be a major antagonist in the new series.

Unmentioned in this announcement are Derra and Deornoth, the twins whose respective prophesies caused over 20 years of fan speculation while Williams wrote other novels. Williams has confirmed in previous announcements that Derra and Deornoth will appear in the new series.

Williams also wrote of his plans for the new book, including his intention that The Witchwood Crown will move a little faster than the beginning of The Dragonbone Chair, stating, “[T]his one moves a little faster and jumps into multi-person [point-of-view] pretty much immediately.  The “moves faster” part may not be so obvious after I revise and put in some of the detail I skipped over in the heat of first-drafting, but I think it will probably still feel this way.  (Thus, for returning readers, I will have to make sure it still feels pretty similar in terms of depth of character and background).”

Also returning are the Sa'onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

Also returning are the Sa’onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

The Witchwood Crown, the highly-anticipated first book in the new Osten Ard sequel series, is tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2016 release by DAW Books, publisher in the United States, and Hodder and Stoughton, the publisher in the United Kingdom. This will give the publishers time to edit what promises to be a lengthy manuscript, promote the book in international markets, and commission appropriate cover art on both sides of the Atlantic. An official release date for the first volume has not yet been set.

Williams completes 555 pages of “The Witchwood Crown”

Tad Williams announced today that he has written well over 500 pages of the first draft of The Witchwood Crown, the first volume in his new series, “The Last King of Osten Ard”:

Just to let you all know, I hit a nice little milestone today — 555 pages of the 1st draft, end of Chapter 30. I’ve actually had time again to get into a rhythm, and it’s amazing how much faster it goes when I have dedicated working time and thinking time.

With 30 chapters of the first draft having been written, the manuscript may already be larger than Stone of Farewell, which only contained 28 chapters. In comparison, The Dragonbone Chair had 44 chapters and To Green Angel Tower had 60. This means that the manuscript is approaching or has already exceeded the size of previous Osten Ard books. Williams is known for long, intricate stories, and it looks as though The Witchwood Crown will be no exception.

In other news, it appears as though the publication date of The Witchwood Crown has been pushed back to Spring 2016, to allow time for editing of what is likely to be a massive manuscript. The original publication date had been set to Fall 2015. Williams writes very fast, and there likely will be no long publication delays that have been seen in other massive epic fantasies such as Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” or George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Indeed, The Witchwood Crown was only announced in April of this year.

Tad Williams to do Reddit AMA interview

Aidan Moher of A Dribble of Ink reports that Tad Williams will be doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) interview with fans on Reddit’s fantasy board on September 18th:

So, if you have anything you want to pick his brain about, mysteries of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, if he realizes that The War of the Flowers is his secret best work, or what it’s like to have been a direct influence on the biggest fantasy series of the decade (Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire), now’s your chance!

The Witchwood Crown is still on track for a 2015 release from DAW Books. If you’re looking to join in the fun, now would be a perfect time to discover Tad Williams’ seminal Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, beginning with The Dragonbone Chair.

More details, such as exact times for the interview, are forthcoming.
Update: Deborah Beale, Williams’ wife, states the AMA interview will be ‘mid-day’, but she’s not sure what time zone ‘mid-day’ represents.