It’s almost October in what has been both a very long and very short year, and, per a tradition established all the way back in the before-days of 2019, that means I should have a new book coming out in a month or two. I’ve already shared a few rough snippets in the magical land of social media, but today we’re going to do something different.
A title reveal? Well, yes.
A cover reveal? Yeah, that too.
But before we get to any of that, I’ll be answering questions from the most insufferable of interviewers…
That’s right: I’m interviewing myself, and I will not rest until I have all the dirt on this new book and the man who is allegedly writing it.
Step into my office, Mr. Tullbane…
You know it’s my office too, right, and that technically we’re already there1? Also, do I need to remind you that you’re an interviewer not a Bond villain?
A likely story, but I will not be falling for your tricks this time.
So, as my deeply embedded spies have informed me, you may or may not be writing a book. Care to comment on the rumors?
They aren’t rumors. I’ve literally told everyone that already.
Everyone who’s paying attention to me on social media.
So, a frankly paltry number of people then.
Now you’re just being mean.
And what is this so-called “book” about?
Whoa, a question that’s actually relevant? Good on you!
It’s a stand-alone novel set in the post-Break world of The Murder of Crows trilogy, featuring Her Majesty, aka the Queen of Smiles. It occurs several years after the events of One Tin Soldier, and details the infamous mercenary’s campaign against the continent’s other self-proclaimed royal, the Crimson Queen. Here’s the blurb:
The Queen of Smiles has long been a mystery, even to herself. A storm of steel and chaos, wrapped in a human shell, she’s spent decades crossing the continent in search of answers about her origin and the rules she is forced to live by. Three years ago, under a bright New Mexico sun, she finally got those answers… and they were as unsatisfactory as they come.
And so, she withdrew from the world, doing only small jobs for the people of the nearby town of Eclipse. But the post-Break world won’t stop spinning. When she returns to find Eclipse burned to the ground and its people slaughtered, the Queen of Smiles begins a mission of revenge that will take her through the Badlands, into the path of the horrors of Texas, and ultimately, to the seat of power of the teenage warlord who calls herself the Crimson Queen.
Because sometimes, the biggest question isn’t why; it’s what’s next.
You do like your one-line zingers at the end of blurbs, don’t you?
It seemed better than warning people that the book would have curse words yet again.
But it will have expletives?
I’m sure your mother will be proud. Haven’t you already written a story featuring the Queen of Smiles as the protagonist?
Yes, a 2020 novelette called The Storm in Her Smile.
And it was well-received?
Yeah. I mean, sort of.
Sort of? Must I remind you that you are under oath here?
That’s not how interviews work. Especially self-interviews on WordPress sites.
The question stands, Mr. Tullbane.
Fine. People liked it, but technically, it’s my worst-reviewed book to date.
And you still thought this would be a good idea?
I like the character! And now that The Murder of Crows is done, I can delve into who Her Majesty is in a way I couldn’t when there were spoilers reserved for the main series.
Fair enough. So, this is a stand-alone novel, but set in the same world as your post-apocalyptic superhero series, The Murder of Crows?
I’m pretty sure we already covered this, other-me, but yes.
And it’s building directly off of events and characters introduced in that series?
It is, yeah.
Then shouldn’t it just be Book #4 in The Murder of Crows? Or Book #3.5, if you wanted to be extra fancy?
The Murder of Crows was a trilogy focused on telling Damian’s story, and it’s complete. This is a new book and its own thing.
But people who have never read the series will still be able to enjoy this book?
That’s the hope. I’m not reintroducing the entire world, but the goal is for new readers to be able to pick it up, enjoy it, and not get too distracted by references to events and people they know nothing about.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
You’re not helping my anxiety at all. Or really selling this.
I’m an interviewer, not a publicist.
And this was a terrible idea.
The best interviews usually are. So, we now know what the book is about. We know who it’s about. We know the intended audience—
Which is everyone, I hope. And not just the ‘everyone’ I interact with on social media.
—but we still don’t know the title.
Oh, right. It’s called The Queen of Smiles.
Don’t you think that’s a little obvious?
Her Majesty doesn’t do subtlety. I figured her book title shouldn’t either.
A bold marketing plan, as ever. So, a standalone novel featuring the Queen of Smiles that is also titled The Queen of Smiles and builds on events from The Murder of Crows without belonging to a series itself—
Technically, it’s going to be part of my existing Stories From a Post-Break World series.
Isn’t that the series you publish your novelettes under?
But this isn’t a novelette.
Right, but it is its own tale. Rather than having it just float out there in the electronic ether, it seemed to make sense to link it to something associated with the existing books.
…but just calling it The Murder of Crows #4 wasn’t good enough.
I already answered that one. And now I have a headache.
Then by all means, let’s move on. Is there anything else you want to share with our esteemed audience?
The Queen of Smiles is currently planned for a November release. It is a self-contained story that will nevertheless have a real impact on the post-Break world as well as future stories set in that world2. Her Majesty is a character I love and it’s been fun to really get into the weeds of how she thinks and operates, while also introducing a whole new cast of characters that I’ll probably kill just when everyone’s getting to like them.
Now, you’re the one sounding like a publicist.
Someone has to do it.
That might be the first reasonable thing you’ve said this entire interview. Before I go, I understand you also want to reveal the cover?
Nothing. I just… kind of like it, I guess.
Thank you. I do too.
And with that, we’re out of time. Back to you in the studio, Jan, and for the rest of you out there, remember to—
Stay safe and keep reading?
I was going to say “Hit ‘Like’ and ‘Subscribe'”, but this once, I guess we’ll give your idea a whirl.
Awesome. Let’s never do this again!
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