THE TRAITOR QUEEN (UK | US | AUS) has gone straight into the Sunday Times fiction chart at number one in the UK, showing that her fans have been desperate for the final instalment in this fantastic series. To mark the publication, we asked her to tell us how she feels about reaching the end of such a beloved series, here’s what she said:
Sequels. Prequels. Love them or hate them, you can’t escape the fact that every author who has a book published will be asked if there will be more. When the last page was proofed of the last book in the Black Magician trilogy I had been working on it for over seven years and I have to admit it, I was tired of the world and (gasp!) even sick of the characters I had lived and loved and cried with for so long. So my answer then was ‘no’.
I’ve learned since then to never give such definite answers to these kinds of questions.
You see, even as I wound up the story in The High Lord, there were little ideas twitching in the corner of my vision whispering, ‘This could be fun to develop.’ Then it occurred to me that the story of the Sachakan War, the impetus for the formation of the Magicians’ Guild of Kyralia, might fill a book. Still, I ignored these ideas, knowing they weren’t substantial enough. Yet.
By the time I had written the Age of Five trilogy, those ideas had grown up, met, had a few parties, married and bred new bold little ideas, all demanding to be written. Enough time had passed that I was ready to venture into the world of Sonea and the magicians of the Guild again.
So first came The Magician’s Apprentice (I am still amazed that nobody had yet written a book by that title), set around six hundred years before the events in the Black Magician trilogy. (It turns out it’s impossible to make it clear in the narrative that a book is a prequel. You can’t have characters thinking that it’s six hundred years before an event that hasn’t happened yet. It really did my head in.) Then came the Traitor Spy trilogy, set twenty years after the Black Magician trilogy. I learned that writing a sequel has its own challenges and rewards. Thinking about this recently, this recipe popped into my head: