Couple of things before we begin:
This is part II in my series of blogs before the release of A Wish Upon the Stars on March 27. Part I, in which I discuss the loneliness of Randall, is here: http://www.tjklunebooks.com/new-blog/2018/3/5/wish-randall-sam-and-the-unfairness-of-destiny
Also, if you haven't pre-ordered the book, it's now available everywhere! Here are the pre-order links:
Now, onto the post. Spoilers obviously, so if you haven't read the first three Lightning books and plan to do so, come back later. I won't be spoiling Wish.
At the end of The Consumption of Magic, Sam has a decision to make. Either he can continue on as he has been, or he can make the impossible choice of following the Great White dragon into the Dark Woods to apprentice with him for up to a year. Doing this, of course, would mean leaving his friends and family behind.
And while this would be a difficult choice for anyone on a good day, Sam certainly isn't having a good day. His mentor--one of the people he loves most, Morgan--is gone, having sacrificed himself in order to save Sam from Myrin. Randall too is gone, having whisked Myrin away, and no one knows where they are. Ryan--Sam's cornerstone and great love--is critically injured and unconscious. The merry band of adventurers--their little cabal--is fractured.
To readers of my novel Burn, it probably will. In that book, the ending is similar. Seven is injured. Their group is suffering betrayal and loss. Felix, hearing the voice of the Tree in his head, makes a choice at a crucial moment in order to save the ones he loves, and goes to the Field. And we all know what happens next, right?
Nothing. Nothing happens next. Because I never wrote what happened next. And that sucked. People were (and rightfully still are) pissed about that. I was too. Heartbroken, even. That story--while often too long--meant a lot to me. It was filled with Big Ideas that weren't as clear as I'd have liked them to be, given my inexperience as a writer. And that ending, man. I don't know.
I've been asked often what would have happened next. What would have happened to Felix and Seven, Tick and Tock and all the rest? I have some idea. Hell, I have my notes and 40K words written that will never see the light of day. I always fought against answering in case some miracle occurred, but it never really did. That story was effectively dead.
But some of the ideas I had were good.
And so I stole them. From myself. To give to...myself.
A Wish Upon the Stars is the sequel Burn never got. Oh, the types of books they are couldn't be more different if they tried. The Verania series will always be comedic; Burn, while having bits of humor, was not. But they are built from the same bones. I'm not the same exact storyteller I once was (that's a good thing). My handle on the Big Ideas has gotten better. I am older now, and a little wiser (just a little).
So I cannibalized parts of what would have come next in Burn and used them for Wish. Oh, there's not going to be an evil twin (well...sort of. Gary's twin Terry is a bit of a dick), and no return of some parent long thought dead bent on taking over the world. But Felix and Sam will return to a world they left behind, a world changed. And Sam, much like Felix would have been, is changed too. What he's been through with the Dragons of Verania in the Dark Woods will play a big part of the man he is now. He's still recognizably Sam, he's just...more. Big big. What I had in store for Felix will play in in bits and pieces for Sam, specifically a part toward the end where Sam...well. You'll just have to wait and see.
Which then brings me to the Long and Evil separation. In Wolfsong, there is that now infamous section of the book that you either love or hate: THREE YEARS, ONE MONTH, TWENTY-SIX DAYS. It is hard and angsty and the resolution--when Joe and the others return to face Ox and the pack they left behind--hurts. I couldn't let these characters sweep that decision to leave under the rug. There was no easy forgiveness. They fought it out, and it was bitter and angry before it got better.
I didn't want to retread old ground in Wish. These characters aren't the wolves. And when Sam does come back, it's going to be into the most desperate of times. The resistance that has formed after Myrin took control of Verania is fighting for their lives. So while Sam will get shit for his vanishing act from the people he loves, it's not going to be drawn out over pages and pages through multiple chapters. He'll still get what's coming to him, though, and rightfully so.
Which brings me to the final thing I want to discuss: time. Each of the first three books in the series covers months. Pining here, prince stolen there, adventures that have to be adventured.
A Wish Upon The Stars covers the shortest amount of time in any of the books. In fact, if I recall correctly, a majority of the novel spans a period of a couple of weeks at most. This was intentional. I knew that by the time Sam returned, things would have to move fast. However, I did give myself time to breathe during the first third of the novel, wanting to reestablish the setting and people and their places in the world. But after that, it moves much quicker. Don't be surprised when you move to the next chapter only to realize it's the same day as the previous chapter. This was purposeful. This is the endgame, after all.
I'm so excited for all of you to read this book. It's the culmination of a lot of work, and I think you're going to be pleased with how things turn out. I've got a few more magic tricks up my sleeve, and I guarantee you won't see them coming.
Next week, in blog III of IV, I will discuss an important topic: the memory of Morgan of Shadows, and what that means for Sam.