A Trilogy, Complete

Back in 2004 I had an idea for a fantasy novel that would combine the lore of Celtic poets with the troubadours, and explore my own complex feelings about the drive to create. I was in my twenties, in college, and had always known I wanted to write.

But the thing about writing fiction is that life doesn’t bend to accommodate it. There is rent to pay, and that can mean eight hours a day of filing, Excel spreadsheets, commuting by subway. Later on, it can mean stringing together an income in freelance writing, and while that is far more interesting than the Excel spreadsheets, the pay is worse to nonexistent. So it might be late in the evening after work, or on a weekend, that you can try to focus your mind and find the words to bring your art into the world.

In the course of seven years, Last Song Before Night was completed. My first book. This was followed by Fire Dance, which came out this year. And this week I submitted the third and last book in the trilogy, The Poet King, to my editor at Tor.

And I keep thinking how this began, in 2004: the first chapter scrawled on a yellow legal pad during a lunch break in the Starbucks next to the Empire State Building. Before I went back to the Excel spreadsheets, answering phones, and a basement apartment at night.

You just never know. That’s the reason to hang in there.

 

The Sequel to “Fire Dance”

Some have asked whether there will be a sequel to Fire Dance, since even though the core arc of the novel is resolved in this book, there are plot threads left open. I did that on purpose, seeing two books as an opportunity to think big, and create a long arc that the trilogy as a whole would resolve.

Some have expressed worry about the wait for the next book. I can understand that, since some authors take ten years between books. Barring an act of God, I am not one of them. I am hard at work on the sequel to Fire Dance and have made quite a lot of progress.

I envision each book of this trilogy as a standalone novel that is also connected to the whole, like paintings in a triptych. Each book tells a complete story. Each is enriched by the presence of the other two. And I think the third book will hold surprises for readers who have been there from the beginning.

I’ll keep you posted.

Fire Dance: Publishing Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the publication day of Fire Dance. I’m so excited to share this book with the world.

There’s been some positive buzz even prior to publication! Here are some of the highlights:

  • Kirkus gave Fire Dance a starred review, something which carries weight in the industry. It would be an understatement to say that I’m thrilled. Their verdict: “Worth waiting for.”
  • The Washington Post selected Fire Dance as one of the three Best SF/Fantasy Books of the month, saying, “The writing is gorgeous. Fans of fantasy intrigue will like this one.”
  • It was selected by both Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a best SF/Fantasy book of the month.
  • In a review titled “Fire Dance Expands the Borders of a Wondrous Fantasy World,” Nicole Hill of the B&N Sci-Fi/Fantasy Blog writes:”Twin mysteries unfold deliberately and delicately, their axes spinning ever closer through alternating viewpoints and tightly constructed plotting… The term “escapism” is often used to diminish fantasy as genre, to limit its power. Myer has given us escapist fantasy to be sure; I, for one, would gladly slip out of this world and into the Way of Booksellers, or enjoy the wine fountains of the Festival of Nitzan. But more often, fantasy becomes used as a playground in which all our real-world ailments and anxieties can run free, everyday problems intensified or resolved by enchantment. And Fire Dance does that too, to dazzling degree.”

Tomorrow, you’ll be able to start reading, and decide for yourselves.

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.