As a general rule, I hate the metaphors and allusions which accompany most discussions about writing. Writers are, broadly, self-serious, sanctimonious, lazy people, who like to give the impression that sitting in an air-conditioned coffee-shop and hashing away at a lap top is an activity comparable to say, breaking rocks on the chain gang in the Alabama sun. My least favorite of all these is the 'a book is like a child' thing. Writing a book is nothing like having a child. This is an insane and foolish comparison. Having spent the last week looking after my brother's 20 month old son has really hammered this home. My book does not, for instance, take off all his pajamas in the middle of the night and then hose down his bedding with urine. My book does not demand that you play him the Raffi record when you are already playing him the goddamn Raffi record. My books do not wake me up before dawn, my books do not produce ear-splitting shrieks at inopportune moments, my books do not throw yogurt on the floor as soon as you turn your back on them. My books are also not freakishly adorable, but that's beside the point.
Here is another way that books are not like children—you get to pick favorites. Low Town/The Straight Razor Cure (really wish we'd stuck to one title!) gets all the love afforded to the eldest, and working on it made me realize that writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and selling it allowed me to wander through far corners of the planet and meet amazing people and have strange misadventures, and between all of those things I can even sort of forgive the various problems I now see in it. Tomorrow, The Killing, is mean and fast, like a sucker-punch to the gut, and it represented a big step forward in terms of my ability to plot coherently. She Who Waits wrapped up my first trilogy with a hard stop, granite hard, hard like the back of a stepfather's hand. The Empty Throne series was the most complex, difficult thing I've ever written, and forced me out of my intellectual comfort zone. The Builders is a book about anthropomorphic animals murdering each other in a setting resembling the American West, and if that's not enough to convince you to go out and purchase a copy, there is something deeply rotten in your twisted, black little soul. The point being, I like them all OK—if they were kids, which as I said they are not, they would be welcomed back for Thanksgiving dinner, and I would make a place for them even if it was on the couch, and try to avoid asking them about their romantic partners and life plans. No black sheep in this family.
But there is a golden son. City Dreaming like anything else I've ever written. I have an, admittedly self-serving but not therefore false, suspicion that it might not be like anything else you've ever read. It's about New York, sort of, and magic, sort of, and being young and quarrelsome, sort of. It's something of an urban fantasy, but one that's more about the strange and extraordinary thing that is a human city, rather than leather-clad supermen grimacing at one another and throwing fireballs at each other (although there's a little bit of that last one.) It's about M, a fast-talking wonder worker with a very dim sense of personal responsibility, who's preference is to spend his life drinking and playing chess and occasionally speaking to pretty woman, but who fate continuously forces into mystical misadventures. It's funny and fast paced and maybe even well-written. It will be available simultaneously in the UK and the US in October.
It was a true labor of love, and I'd really, really like to get you guys to read it. To that end, I'm going to do something which I don't really do for my books, indeed which goes against both my dislike of publicity and my general laziness, and that's to try and make a great big splash about it here on the interwebs. Over the next couple of months, I'm going to start posting reviews and blurbs, and putting up some short stories related to the world of A City Dreaming, and maybe have a contest or two, and just generally doing those sorts of things which wiser, more successful writers do as a matter of course. If you wanted to be a great big old sweetie, you might share these various advertisements, and comment on them, and pre-order the book, and grab your friends and casual acquaintances and demand that they pre-order it.
Cause frankly, if he don't sell well, I'm cutting him out of the will.