This news should be sad - many will find it so - but to me, at this point, it's a relief. The publishing rights to my second Mercutio book, VOICE OF THE FALCONER, are mine again. St. Martin's Press and I have parted ways.
It was an amicable parting, though a little bewildering, as the history will show. In December 2006, SMP bought the rights to the sequel to THE MASTER OF VERONA, which was coming out the following summer. I had a delivery date of March 15, 2007 (the Ides of March - I should have known). I got it in a week late, but complete and ready to roll.
And then nothing. MV landed with lots of praise, and just enough sales to make SMP their money back. Certainly it was no blockbuster, and released the same week as the last Harry Potter, with no publicity, that seems to have been by design. Then SMP published a release date for FALCONER of December 2008, but there was no movement. It never left my editor's desk. Clearly someone read it, because a synopsis was published. But the manuscript was never edited, never proofed, never scored. Promises were made, and broken. Deadlines were set, and broken. The release date kept changing, kicked down the road - June 2009, December 2009, June 2010. A cover was even released - the first time I saw it was on Amazon, and I downloaded it for my files (it is a lovely cover). And yet from my editor, silence. Literally years of silence.
At the start of 2008 I got a new agent, and he and I sat down and charted my course. He wanted a big, epic novel, something on a grand scale. That novel, IN THE SHADOW OF COLOSSUS, is now complete. But with FALCONER still lingering out there, uncertain and indeterminate, we were uncomfortable. So last December, three years after the signing of the contract, we asked for the rights back. The response we got was positive, and generous. But still the process took six months. When I got the final papers last week, I cannot tell you how relieved I was. The book, and the series, is mine again.
And now FALCONER will go into a drawer. The adventures, trials, and tribulations of Pietro Alaghieri, Cangrande della Scala, Mariotto and Antonio, Antonia Alaghieri, Katerina della Scala, and young Cesco, will remain my secret for years to come. I'll focus on other books, other plots and other characters, until I find a publisher as passionate about this series as I am.
I will always be grateful to SMP for publishing THE MASTER OF VERONA, and both sad and bewildered as to why our relationship ended. But I'm glad it's over. I have too many stories to tell to waste time waiting and wondering why.
You have no idea how sorry I am to all the fans who've been looking forward to the publication of FALCONER. I wrote the first draft of it in 2002, so my longing to have it out there is now eight years old. I can only say, all good things come to those who wait.
Meanwhile, this is a celebration. This liberation paves the way forward for many things. So cheer for me, and start getting excited for Rome in the time of emperors, and Judea just before the Fall of the Temple.