(Finch, hitting bookstores on November 3.)
The postman brought a box of Finch today. I opened them half-reluctantly for some reason, then just about died when I saw the top copies were gap-toothed: the left margin of the cover didn’t quite match up to the interior pages. Then saw these were only the first few on top, and the rest were fine. I’d had a sudden image in my head of these village-idiot-looking copies populating bookstores. But, not to worry. The majority look awesome.
In the back, there’s the classiest advert I’ve ever seen in a book:
And it looks awesome next to the Murder by Death CD (that band is just so bad-ass; don’t know another word for it).
For awhile I didn’t have the heart to open Finch up and look it over. I just didn’t know if I could take, after one of the hardest pre-production schedules ever, which included re-typesetting the book…if I could take finding an error. What if a page number was missing or a whole page was missing? I know it sounds ridiculous, but after being so involved in every aspect of this novel for so long, the agony of that would be excruciating. It’d be like having a fingernail pulled out.
So I put the copies out on the table and then kind of circled them for awhile before diving in. There are no errors that I can find. Of course, by then I had a different problem: the weight of it finally hit me, that this is the end of Ambergris, the end of a cycle of stories and novels I’ve worked on ever since I was 25. It’s defined most of my adult life as a writer. This work is primarily responsible for my being able to keep freelancing full-time. The books have been translated into twelve languages. I’ve seen people dressed as characters from the books at conventions. People have gotten tattoos of images from the books. And art–a lot of art has been used in the Ambergris Cycle, and a lot of art has been inspired by it.
Thanks to Ann for being by my side during the writing of every single bit of Ambergrisian fiction. Thanks to all of the artists and other creators involved, especially Eric Schaller, Scott Eagle, and John Coulthart. (John, you made Finch look like a million bucks, and King Squid and the title pages in City of Saints are classics.) And, heck, the great musicians like Robert Devereux and The Church and now Murder by Death–has any book cycle ever had three such distinctive soundtracks?–and Juha Lindroos for the Shriek movie. Thanks to everyone who ever commented on rough drafts, and to everyone who’s read and enjoyed (or not enjoyed) the books. I can’t name everyone because I’ll forget someone, but in addition to my foreign editors, thanks to these editors who took chances on the Ambergris books: Sean Wallace at Prime Books, Peter Lavery at Pan McMillan, Juliet Ulman at Bantam, Jim Minz and Liz Gorinsky at Tor, and Victoria Blake at Underland. (The British Commonwealth rights to Finch just sold to a prestige editor at a real heavy-hitter in the UK, but the multiple tiers of my superstitions don’t allow me to mention that person’s name until the contract is signed.)
So I’m sitting there looking at a copy of Finch–this book I put blood, sweat, and tears into–and feeling a little maudlin and a little proud at the same time, remembering everything, forgetting everything. If I ever write about Ambergris again, it’ll be a totally different place. It’ll be unrecognizable. And I’ll be in a different place.