Fire Dance Launch Events! Or: Where to Find Me in April

I’m excited to announce that I will be celebrating the launch of Fire Dance at three fantastic indie bookstores in the US and Canada.

The schedule:

I’ll be reading, signing, and happy to sign copies of Last Song Before Night as well. See you there!

First Review and Thoughts Before a Book Birthday

Publishers Weekly has rolled out the first review of Fire Dance: “Forbidden enchantments and hidden machinations fill this well-plotted dark fantasy…Subtle cultural elements are reminiscent of the medieval Arab world. Fans of epic fantasy and court intrigue will enjoy following the characters as they discover pieces of the truth.”

A first review is always significant, but feels especially so in the case of a book that took years to write. This book was my secret for so long, and now, at last, it’s out there.

Why so long? I wrestled Fire Dance through many phases and drafts. It did not end up as it began. The characters were not born fully formed–they had to take shape and evolve. The plot is twisty and twisted and that, too, takes time. What began in 2013 in a Paris cafe was completed in the summer of 2016. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done and the most meaningful. That’s the real privilege of being a writer, to my mind–the meaning the work brings to my life.

As with Last Song Before Night, Fire Dance can be read as a standalone. It does not require the reader to know the events of Last Song, and has an ending of its own. At the same time, Fire Dance leaves an opening for the third and final book in the trilogy, which I’m working on now. And yes, I am going as fast as I can! But as noted above, some processes can take time, and quality must come first. My poets would say music comes first, and they are right about that too.

I’ll be immensely grateful if you pre-order Fire Dance, as that sends a message to the publisher and retailers that can help the book in the long run. Soon I’ll be posting updates about appearances and events this year. A book birthday is something to celebrate.


The cover of “Fire Dance,” unveiled!

I am delighted beyond words to share the cover of Fire Dance, once again a creation of the incredible artist, Stephan Martiniere.

With Fire Dance, the world introduced in Last Song Before Night is enriched and expanded upon. In addition to the influences of Celtic myth and the troubadours, I drew on inspirations from Andalusian history and poetry, Middle Eastern myth, and more. Those inspirations are reflected to what I think is magnificent effect in this image of the Tower of Glass, a magical observatory.

More details about the book can be found here, courtesy of the good folks at B&N.

Also, the book is available for pre-order at a discount from B&N.

San Francisco Events, Coming Up!

I have a couple of appearances in San Francisco in early April–both in wonderful venues.

  • On April 6th, I will be signing at Borderlands Books from 6pm-7pm. This is exciting not only for a chance to meet readers, but also because Borderlands is one of my top three favorite bookstores in the world. (Yes, I have a list!)
  • On April 8th, I will be reading at Charlie Jane Anders’s Writers With Drinks, which is by all accounts an amazing time…and which has a truly jaw-dropping line-up that includes Peter Beagle and Hari Kunzru. Check it out! RSVP!

Publication Date for “Fire Dance”

Fire Dance, the sequel to Last Song Before Night, will be a spring baby. That is, it is coming out in April 2018, as confirmed by my editor.

It is purely coincidence that the book is set at that time of the year. But a fun one.

I’m now hard at work on the as-yet-untitled third book. Fire Dance has an ending that I hope will tide readers over until the third book, with its major emotional arcs resolved. But I’m doing my best to get the final book of the series done.

Trade Paperback Release of Last Song Before Night, and Two Interviews!

A month ago, some events of significance occurred in the US, where I live. This made it a strange time to promote the release of the paperback edition of Last Song Before Night, which came out on November 8th–Election Day.

Now that it’s a month later it feels appropriate to talk about something other than the cataclysmic events of November 8th. The trade paperback is not only out–it is beautiful, with the same cover art by artist Stephan Martiniere, but deeper colors. (And quite a nice cover quote from NPR.)

To honor the occasion of its release, I was interviewed by Aidan Moher at Barnes & Noble, and Mihir Wanchoo at Fantasy Book Critic. We talked about writing, character development, worldbuilding, and the upcoming sequel, Fire Dance.

Barnes & Noble Interview – Ilana C. Myer

Fantasy Book Critic Interview – Ilana C. Myer

Times of Israel Interview

I lived in Jerusalem through my teens and for the latter half of my twenties, when I worked as a journalist. Almost the entirety of Last Song Before Night was written in Jerusalem, and the city found its way into the atmosphere of Tamryllin. So I’m especially pleased to have been interviewed for The Times of Israel, where editor Amanda Borschel-Dan delves into the roots of the novel.

There’s something special about being from such a warm community as that of the English-speakers in Jerusalem. They saw me hard at work on the book for years, in cafes all over the city. The outpouring of support since the book came out has been tremendous. When we visit family in Israel–hopefully soon–I expect to be signing quite a few books.

Special Delivery: Sequel to Last Song Before Night

In November 2013 I was in Paris, a brief stopover on the way to visiting family. I had a plan: I would begin my next novel, the sequel to Last Song Before Night, in a cafe there. A lot of trepidation had led up to this moment–putting aside all the research I’d done, including a visit to the Louvre’s exhibition on Islamic art–and making a start of the story. The best way to overcome that trepidation, I thought, was by means of a psychological trick. I thought: “Even if the first pages are bad, they’ll at least have been written in a cafe in Paris!”

So on a cold autumn day I took advantage of the generosity of a cafe on Rue Cler, where they didn’t mind my staying from morning until evening–or at least, didn’t show it if they did. The scribbled ideas in my notebooks, with their asterisks and exclamation points and underlining and question marks…these began to take shape as fiction. Which is, I believe, the most naked and uncompromising form there is. (Hence, the trepidation.)

That was 2013. While the novel I handed in to my editor a few days ago bears little resemblance to the story I began in Paris that day, the heart of the novel remains the same. One scene–a fateful one–that I wrote in Cafe Eclair on Rue Cler remains in the final draft. I am glad some part of that day–a cherished memory–is preserved in the book.

This next book required a great deal of research because I was determined not to do the same thing, or even a similar thing, again. I wanted to expand the frontiers of the world in Last Song Before Night, in all ways–in terms of geography, societies, magic, and cast of characters. Most important was to do justice to the character arcs of the first book. No matter how far afield we might go into enchantments and epic battles in fantasy, the human heart is–it seems to me–where it all ends up, and must begin.

No idea of a release date yet. Revisions, copyediting, and proofreading are still ahead. This post is just to mark the occasion: a work of nearly three years is done.