Almost ten years ago I put my three kids to bed, told Jamie for the millionth time about my desire to write a novel, and with her blessing dug out my sketch pad to draw the first map of Aerwiar. I turned off the television (this is key) and sat in the recliner with my high school art supplies, eager to tell a story. As with any adventure, had I known how much work and time it would have taken, I might not have had the guts to start. I drew the coastline of Skree on the left, then for some reason on the right I drew another coastline and named the continent Dang. The expanse between was named the Dark Sea of Darkness. I grinned like the geek I was, sharpened my pencil, and began the work of filling in the details. Eventually, Glipwood sprang out of the map, and the Wingfeather children sprang out of Glipwood. But who were they? And why did their story need to be told?
It took a few years of “research,” which when it comes to fantasy novels means “making stuff up.” Orson Scott Card’s book How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy was a tremendous help, mainly because it reminded me that, because I was inventing a world from the ground up, I had to answer a zillion questions about the history of the world, the political situation, the currency used, the presence (or absence) of magic, the presence (or absence) of religion, and what the flora, fauna, and fangishness of this new world might be. At some point in the writing of the history of Aerwiar, a nameless evil (named Gnag the Nameless) demanded my attention, and soon I had the beginnings of the Wingfeather Saga. After a laborious first draft, then a second, third, and fourth draft, I managed to fool the good people at Random House/Waterbrook into giving a singer/songwriter a shot at publication. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness was published in 2008. North! Or Be Eaten came in 2009, and with the help of Rabbit Room Press The Monster in the Hollows arrived in 2011.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s 2013. That means it’s time to finish the story. Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli are weary and homesick, and I need to bring them home (in one way or another). And you can help them. As of the writing of this post, I’m at 124,758 words. According to my Word document, that’s 417 double-spaced pages. I’m on chapter 79. There are quite a few chapters remaining, but not too many. Things are winding down, slowly but surely, and it won’t be long before I know how this whole thing ends. Since this book (and the previous one) were published by Rabbit Room Press and not a major publishing company, there’s a great deal of freedom. That’s a good thing. It means I can choose my editors, I’m intimately involved in the look and feel of the book, and I get to work with the illustrators. But there’s another side to the coin, and that’s this: there’s no big, fat monetary advance, and we need you, dear readers, to help us make this book happen.
We live in a pretty exciting time for music and publishing. Thanks to websites like Kickstarter, not only are projects that may have never had a chance given birth, the readers get the thrill of being the midwives. I know first-hand, because I’ve helped to Kickstart albums by Matthew Perryman Jones and Andrew Osenga (among others) as well as books by DKM and Doug TenNapel. There’s something wonderful about opening a package and holding a book or record in my hands, knowing that my modest contribution helped make its existence possible. Community begets art. It was true of the Inklings, it’s true here in the Rabbit Room, and I’m hoping that with the help of the amazing community of Wingfeather fans it will be true of The Warden and the Wolf King.
We decided to pull out all the stops and shoot for the moon. (Yes, that’s a mixed metaphor involving a pipe organ and a rocket.) With your help we’ll not only be able to publish this book full of beautiful illustrations by Joe Sutphin, we’ll be able to do much more. If you can help, click this link and learn about all the fun stuff we’ve cooked up. Thank you all, young and old, for your enthusiasm about this story, and whatever help you can give. My family and I are delighted that a super-nerdy map ten years ago is culminating in the publication of this book. Back to writing! Beware the bumpy digtoad.
P.S. There’s a weird guy at the end of the video making some outlandish claims. Ignore him at all costs.