Who doesn’t like getting a new coat? All right, I know that some of you will love to fester in the trendy / dodgy peacoat you bought over a decade ago, but fashions change whether you like it or not. (Admit it - you’re getting older and you don’t like the change so much.)
Anyway, the world of publishing does have to change. What appealed five years ago to the average punter stepping into a bookstore on a wet Wednesday probably won’t work today. Sometimes, you need to freshen up book covers to appeal to new readers.
So I was pretty excited to know that the first two novels in the Legends of the Red Sun series were getting new jackets. That rocked, because finally I was going to have one, coherent series look that I could point to and say was mine, thanks very much. There were a few different creative directions attempted for the other books in the series, but now we’re cool. The books are out there and are clearly identifiable as part of the same series.
However. Nights of Villjamur is a different beast between the sheets too, so to speak. I’d made about 200 minor changes to the new edition, to smooth things out, replace obscure words with ones more people will understand, removing some of the unnecessary swearing (look, it isn’t big, and it isn’t clever, and neither was I for using them so much). Reworking the book was strange. I could even trace parts of my life, or certainly my thoughts, through the events in the book - not to say that the book is a diary, but I’d committed more of my mind to the book than I realised (or vice versa?).
Anyway, at the risk of butchering yet another metaphor, you know when you move on from a partner because things weren’t working anymore, and you moved onto someone new, who’s better-looking, funnier and with whom you can have better deep-and-meaningfuls? That. But with words. I still looked back affectionately, don’t get me wrong, but to tinker with a novel I’d written four years ago was a rare opportunity, and one I really did appreciate. It was a chance to erase some of my regrets - how cool if life could actually be like that?
But suffice to say, I realised that I’d moved on from the Legends of the Red Sun series. This isn't at all to say I dislike them - I speak merely in creative terms. The books, to me, felt like massive achievements. We had good times, but after spending some more time with it I realised I was not the same person as the one who’d written it. For my own creative sanity, I’ve had to draw a firm line between those books and the new Lucan Drakenfeld series, which I’m writing at the moment. And with respect to the past - for I'm really proud of those books and stand by them - the future excites me.
That said, for anyone who is approaching the Legends of the Red Sun series - for all the books are now finished, and I know there are some readers who won't touch a series unless it's finished - I hope you enjoy the ride. While I've mentally moved on, I realise that many readers may yet get a thrill or two from these weird books. I enjoyed writing them a great deal, I tried quite a few different tricks and themes, some of which might work, some of which might not, but I hope more than anything that you find them different.