Yesterday, I finished what should be the semi-final draft of THE LIVING, the last book in the Warm Bodies Series. I submitted it to my editor, and there will be further refinements to the prose as we move toward publication, but I feel like my creative work is done. We still have to clean the gallery and set up the lighting, but the art itself is complete.
What a strange feeling that is. This story has been my full time job for eight years and my full time obsession for a decade. And now, give or take a few weeks of line editing, it's finished. All those other ideas that I've been pushing away in the name of focus...I can let them come inside, take root and start growing. It's hard to explain the thrill of this. Standing at a window overlooking a whole new stage of life and getting ready to jump out. And yes, it's a window, not a door. I might break my legs.
But I get ahead of myself. What can I tell you about THE LIVING?
I'm not ready to drop a synopsis, but there's a solid teaser on the last page of THE BURNING WORLD. More than plot details, though, what stands out to me about this book is the feel. It's different from THE BURNING WORLD. A little brighter and funnier. It has leisurely character moments. Long road trip conversations. Comic banter and romantic banter. People getting to know each other. There's plenty of action, and the intensity definitely ramps toward the end, but it's less relentless, with more diversions into cosmic weirdness.
The way I see it, TBW is physical—it's about grappling with the muddy reality of a brutish world where even the heroes have blood on their hands. THE LIVING is spiritual. It's about beginning to transcend that reality and in the process, change it.
But yes, I know what the real question is: WHEN DOES IT COME OUT?
Well, there's no release date yet. No publishing deal, for that matter. That conversation is just now getting started. But since the book will absolutely be ready for publication by the end of summer, I see no reason to wait. These are very distinct novels and I wanted that break between them, but it should be a short break. I'm pushing hard for a fall or winter release. Yes, this very same year.
I have this fantasy that things will change when THE LIVING drops and the series is complete. That things will finally click when people can get the whole thing in view. Misperceptions will dissolve and the story will be seen as it is and judged on its own merits. Maybe even break free of the zombie genre ghetto and become a "real book"!
Like I said, it's a fantasy. A guy can dream. But if nothing else, at least you readers will have the whole picture and we can finally have some real talk. It's been lonely being the only one who knows. I'm excited to let you in.