Benedict Jacka's Blog
December 31, 2017
Happy New Year from everyone in the Alex Verus world!
I’m out of the country at present, and won’t be returning until a couple of weeks into January. Posts will resume on the 19th.
December 22, 2017
Wow, looking at the URL, I just realised that this is the fifth time I’ve made a post like this. It’s been a busy five years. Hope your Christmas goes well, and I’ll see you after the holidays!
December 15, 2017
Just finishing up the copy-edits for book #9, Marked. They’re close to done at the time of writing, so by the time you read this, they might very well be complete. Copy-edits are the last point at which I make significant changes to the book: once they’re done, the version I send back to my publisher is 99% identical to the version you’ll have in your hands when it finally comes out. (If you’re curious as to what copy-edits are, I wrote about it here.)
Copy-edits take a while to do, but fortunately they’re relatively easy work and much less stressful than writing or rewriting. I’ve enjoyed doing them this time – it’s been fun to read back through Marked and see the changes. I think you guys should enjoy reading this one once it comes out!
Release date for Marked is July 5th 2018 in the US and UK.
December 8, 2017
Why is Alex so vehemently against the title of Dark Mage? Every time somebody labels him with it, he denies it vehemently, but it seems to me that Alex does abide by the principles pretty extensively, determined to live his life my his own terms rather than those that anybody (the council) would impose on him. I understand that he has had a lot of negative experiences at the hands of Dark Mages, but isn’t the over all philosophy to maintain the freedom to direct one’s own life? Alex once criticized Talisid for the mentality: Light mages good, Dark mages bad! But it seems that Alex draws the same sorts of lines, at least on the dark side of the fence.
Probably because he rejected the whole Dark philosophy in a big way personally and so doesn’t like getting associated with it. Though he does seem to be getting less vehement about it than he used to. Either he’s changed his mind or he’s just tired of repeating it. Your guess is as good as mine as to which.
Hey, Luna. I was wondering if Alex has ever mentioned his mum? I know it took a long time to even get to his dad, who we know is still alive, but maybe he talked about her?
I know she’s still alive, but I don’t know much more than that. I think he said something about her not being English, but that’s about it. I got the impression that his relationship with her might be even worse than with his dad if anything. Still, not like I’m in any position to throw stones as far as that goes.
Why did the Light Council(or just a sect of them) devote so much time and resources towards trying to kill Alex?
Sure, he was legally supposed to be executed. But isn’t he kind of a low priority target if he’s somewhere really far away?
I don’t know; Just seemed like a waste of resources that could be put towards actual pressing threats.
How the hell are we supposed to know? You think death squads show up at your front door with an audit or something? “Hi, Miss Mancuso, we’re here to execute you, please take a look at this cost accounting for our time and sign the receipt.” Whoever was behind it, it was obviously a high enough priority for them.
Are certain mage hybrids impossible?
Like a hybrid between a Fire & Ice mage or a Diviner & Probability mage?
Well, the Council seems to think so anyway. There are a bunch of magic types that supposedly can’t be mixed, and yes, fire and ice are among them. But then, some fire mages can lower temperature as well as raise it, so I’ve got the feeling some of those ‘impossible’ hybrids might only be ‘impossible’ for very specific definitions.
December 1, 2017
And here we go again. Alex Verus #10 is underway as of today.
Target date for completion of the first draft is June 2018. Given how late the last one was, I’m not sure if I’m going to make it, but I’ll do my best. I do have a clearer idea of what I’m doing than I did when I was starting Alex Verus #9, so there’s that.
I wonder how many more times I’ll be opening up a new text file and typing ‘Alex Verus’ in the title page? At least twice more after this one, but probably not very many beyond that . . .
November 24, 2017
This was something that was asked a couple of times in relation to my last post, (and has been asked lots more times in the past) and I figured it deserved its own post to answer.
The short answer is that the series is more than half done. The Alex Verus books that are out there right now are most of the ones that there ever will be. This isn’t an absolute 100% guarantee (since I haven’t planned everything out in that kind of detail) but I’m almost sure that Fated through Bound will outnumber the rest of the series. Call it ninety percent certain.
Nailing down an exact number is harder. I know what’s going to happen in Book #10, and I have vague plans for Book #11, but I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen beyond then. That said, I don’t think all the books ‘beyond then’ will add up to very many. Book #10 will leave the series in an unstable position, to the extent that it won’t really be possible to keep things going for all that long afterwards. If I had to make a guess, I’d say #13 will be the last, but I might be underestimating. We’ll see.
In any case, don’t expect the series to go on forever! I might be wrong on the exact numbers, but I’m pretty sure about the overall shape. So the total might be 12, or 14, but it’s not going to be 16 or 20. That’s the best guess I have at the moment.
November 17, 2017
Currently planning out Book #10.
I’m looking forward to this book. In a lot of ways it’s going to be the big turning point of the series – not the end, but the last major set of reveals/dramatic changes before the end. By the time the book’s done, all the major characters in the series should have been established, and it’ll be clear who’s on who’s side for the final battles.
Book #10’s also going to resolve a lot of long-running sideplots and things that have been hinted at. One of the more common questions that I get asked is whether Alex is ever going to get some sort of power-up. That’s going to get addressed in a final way, along with Alex’s relationship status and the question of what Richard’s been planning all this time. To the best of my knowledge no-one has yet correctly guessed the answers to any of these questions (or if they have, they haven’t put it online where I can see it) so it’s going to be a lot of fun to finally get it out there.
The downside to all this is that doing all these resolutions is going to be a LOT of work. Since Book #10 builds on so much previous material, it’s going to have an enormous amount of references to past books. I’m actually considering going back to drawing out diagrams just to keep track of everything. Well, we’ll see how it goes.
November 10, 2017
The first-round edits on Book #9, Marked, are finished. There are still copy-edits and proofreader corrections to do, but they’re relatively minor – the version of the book that I sent off to my publishers yesterday is 95% identical with the version that you guys will get hold of when it’s released in July of next year.
Time to start planning Book #10. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, so let’s hope it goes a bit faster than the last one did!
November 3, 2017
Did Alex ever consider Starbreeze to be a friend? If so, then why hasn’t he reached out to her. If not, then can anyone actually befriend an elemental?
Yes, he considered (still does) her to be a friend. He hasn’t reached out to her because the world’s a big place and it’s not very easy to find an air elemental in a billion cubic miles of sky. It’s not like she has a phone number.
Hey Luna! It’s me again, I was hoping you could answer more of my questions, these are a little bit more random, sorry about that.
Does Alex have a drivers licence?
Do you like working at the shop?
Have you ever met a Canadian mage?
Does North Korea have a council? (I am actually guessing that a lot of people don’t really know anything about NK but i wanted to ask anyways.)
And finally, Do you ever want to become a Master someday?
I hope this wasn’t too much trouble! Thanks a bundle (Of kittens)!
Yup, Alex has a licence, though I think he pretty much never uses it.
I do like working at the shop, yeah. I’m starting to see why Alex did it for so long.
No, no Canadian mages, though plenty from the USA. They rarely seem to make it over here.
I think North Korea has a Council, though it’s a pretty weird one.
And no, I don’t really want to become a master. I’m pretty much done with the Council at this point and I’m happy staying as an independent.
So Anne is “infected” or “merged” or “linked” with a wish entity. I remember that they could not wish for themselves, but since Anne has “compassion” could she not “wish” for a compatible body for the entity to transfer to? How dissimilar would it be from the tree spirit that transferred to a new tree? Wishes are supposed to be pretty powerful things! Sorry, it’s been awhile since I read “Bound” and I’ve forgotten the specifics … but I keep chewing on this. I know it’s Disney and everything, and Alex usually is patient to a point with us mundanes… but the parallel is when Alladin set (Robin Williams) the Genie free.
Sorry if this is a stupid question. BTW I cannot believe we have to wait nearly a year to find out what happens next!
We’re still not a hundred percent sure what happened with Anne and that jinn. According to all the tests we’ve done, it isn’t currently in residence in her head. We think. So it’s possible that nothing further’s going to come of it.
If that turns out to be wrong, then I think her making wishes is going to be the last thing any of us want. Those things tend to come with really high price tags. The idea of giving it a new body would be . . . I dunno. I suppose it could be a nice Disney-movie-type ending, but a part of me wonders if it’d be the equivalent of getting rid of one kind of ancient evil by creating a new one.
What happened to Morden? Is he still alive or did they execute him right away? If they haven’t, what are they going to do?
He’s alive, sentence pending. In theory he’s due to be executed, but the Council seem to be dragging their feet over actually carrying it out, so he’s been locked up while they make up their minds.
October 27, 2017
So some of my UK readers might have noticed as of a while back that Burned (book #7) and Bound (book #8) have a slightly different cover design from books #1 through #6. This has actually been UK Orbit’s plan for a while now – they’ve had an adjusted cover style in the works. Fated, Cursed, Taken, Chosen, Hidden, and Veiled are now going to be re-released with the new covers, so take a look!
I like the new style quite a bit, though I do have a sentimental attachment to the old ones (they were my first successful books, after all). Still, I can keep them around as collector’s items.