So, today I finished what I will call the first draft of TARASHANA — meaning the first complete draft that I’m willing to show other people. I’ll be asking a few of you to take a look now and others later, after a round of comments and revision. Meanwhile, questions you might consider asking and anyway I feel like answering:
1) Is this a direct sequel to TUYO?
Yes. The story opens about a year and a half after TUYO closes.
2) Is TARASHANA as long as TUYO?
It’s even longer. I did quite a bit of trimming, after which it’s still 40,000 words longer.
3) Did you write it as fast as TUYO?
No. I doubt very much that I will ever again write a book as fast as I wrote TUYO. However, it was pretty fast, relatively speaking. Everything in this world is fast to write — so far — a trend that I certainly hope continues!
4) Does this story feature the same characters as TUYO?
Yes. To a remarkable degree. I managed to find fairly important roles for a bunch of characters I particularly like, although, I should add, by no means all of them. In fact, character proliferation presented a real challenge and I went to considerable trouble to reduce the number of characters as well. For example, in this draft, Esau moves entirely offstage after the first couple of scenes, largely to reduce the number of important characters.
5) But I like Esau! How could you?
I like Esau too. At this point, I’m planning a short, offset, third-person Book 4 that will show everyone some of Esau’s backstory and also what he’s up to during the events in TARASHANA. I can’t guarantee that’ll happen because every now and then I try to write a story that goes nowhere, but I am pretty sure I will write this one.
6) Are there important new characters?
Yes. I hope you like them.
7) Do we see a lot of Etta?
That depends on what you mean by “a lot.” It’s really hard to make every character central. You can basically take almost any secondary character from TUYO, put their name in here, and this will be the same answer.
8) Do terrible things happen to Ryo and Aras?
9) Do they get over it?
Um . . . yes? Let’s say there’s still a certain amount of room for “getting over it” at the end.
10) But they don’t, like, die or anything?
Amazingly enough, no, even though we do get to tour a certain part of the land of the shades.
11) Will there be another direct sequel?
Yes. In that one, we will go far south and see both the summer country in a lot more detail and the country south of the summer country. I’m not sure what the border on that side looks like. A river of fire? Of molten glass? A volcanic chasm? Feel free to offer ideas if any occur to you, because I haven’t really thought of anything that seems perfect yet. Definitely Sahara-style sand dunes on the other side — with really ENORMOUS oases.