I could live with Ella Fitzgerald singing the soundtrack to this post…

It has been a while, and I’m just gearing up again here. I tend to use Twitter now for short comments on things that matter (single malt scotch, baseball, books I love…). But 140 characters doesn’t cut it (or cuts it too much) when there is more to discuss.

I announced on Twitter and via the Bright Weavings Facebook page last month that the new book was drafted. I was touched by the general approval of this. The novel is called Children of Earth and Sky and we’ll have more to share in July, and after. For one thing, we are on the way to having a (gorgeous, for me) cover. Second version of that is in, what are likely to be final tweaks are in progress.

I want to take a moment to say a good bye to a professional relationship, though not a friendship. Susan Allison, my longtime editor in New York, is retiring as of July 1 to (shockingly!) enjoy life. I may forgive her in time.

Susan and I started together with the paperback of The Summer Tree. We parted cordially when I moved to Roc with Tigana, and then re-engaged even more cordially when she ‘inherited’ Roc in a merger (an earlier merger) a number of years ago. It is rare to have a friendship and working interaction with a single editor that spans 30 years. I feel truly lucky. Susan, who may be just a tad emotional this week (rumour has it) has been supremely and wonderfully unruffled to work with. Add a sense of humour, wryness, pragmatism, experience, and – every author wants this – a feeling that she always got my work, from the beginning – and this has been a sustaining relationship for me.

I also feel lucky after a first encounter last week with the editor who now shoulders the burden of, well, me. Claire Zion is that person in New York now at NAL. We’ve had a breakfast (important to be able to deal with someone over first coffee!) and engaged in a flurry of emails, and I feel like Bogie with Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca …’I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.’

There is a lot to be said (a lot has been said) about the editor/writer relationship. But this, as with so much else in writing and publishing, varies so wildly. The same editor (or agent, too) may need to be an entirely different person, play a very different role for different writers. One of their skills, actually, is to sort this out. But trust and confidence, enjoying dealing with someone, surely matter, and I’ve been friends with a remarkable number of the people I’ve worked with over the years. A tribute, clearly, to their collective tolerance.

So, consider this post a checking back in with the Journal as summer begins. I think as we move towards a release of the book in May there will be a fair bit of news to share. As some will recall, my concept for the journal from the start, many novels back, was to share aspects of the book world – how books get to readers – that even true book lovers might not know about, and I’m still on the case with that. Stay tuned for a new journal for the new book.

Oh. And Angel’s Envy is a really good bourbon. Cheers, as we wrap the River of Stars journal.