The end of the year crept up on me! Oh sure, I went to my son’s holiday winter concert—his last one, in fact, since he graduates in the spring. And yes, I did force both my teenagers to help decorate the house while listening to classic Christmas music (did you know I have Robert Goulet and Tony Bennett on vinyl??). And naturally I spent more money than I can comfortably afford on presents for loved ones, per usual. Yet somehow, the big picture escaped me: it’s nearly the end of 2021!
In my defense, I have been rather busy. For the second year in a row, I had two books published. Last year in 2020 was the release of The Ranger of Marzanna, the first volume in my epic fantasy trilogy The Goddess War, which was published by Orbit Books. That same year, my first middle grade novel, The Hacker’s Key was published by Scholastic Books. In 2021, the second Goddess War novel, The Queen of Izmoroz, was published by Orbit in the spring. Then my fantasy noir novel Gutter Mage, written under the name J.S. Kelley, was published in the fall.
Whew, that’s a lot, right?
But hey, why have two books published in a single year when you can have three???
Yep, I have three books coming out in 2022. The The Wizard of Eventide comes out in April. I’ve already shared the cover, but expect more from me on the final book in my Goddess Wars trilogy in the coming months.
Additionally, I have two middle grade books coming out next year. July will bring the first installment in my G.I. Joe Classified series, featuring both classic and new characters. I can’t wait to share the cover by comics legend Phil Noto (!!!) and tell you more about this project.
I also have another middle grade book coming out in September from Scholastic called The Ghost of Drowned Meadow, which as the title suggests, is my first proper horror novel (I say “proper” because anyone who’s read my work knows I am very fond of putting horror elements into all my books, regardless of the purported genre). It’s a ghost story set in present day Long Island, NY, but it also digs into some deeply troubling history about America’s relationship with fascism in the 1930’s. You can be certain I will be talking a lot about this book once it gets closer to launch. Indeed, my Scholastic editor and I have already begun discussing the possibility of school talks, because it is a meaty subject.
Of course, authors are generally a year (or more) ahead of whatever is in the public view. So everything I’ve just listed are things I have been working on this past year. So what am I working on this coming year that might come out in 2023?
Naturally I can’t say much at this point. I don’t mean to be a tease (well, maybe a little). I can say with certainty that there will be another G.I. Joe book. Everything else is still rather tenuous at this stage, and I’d hate to jinx any of it. All I will say is that recent personal events have emboldened me to take chances, to challenge myself in new endeavors, and hopefully discover more ways to delight my readers.
I’m currently compiling my big “Best Albums of 2021” for David Levithan’s annual author roundup. In the mean time, please enjoy this track:
I have been rereading Orlando by Virginia Wolfe, wondering if my new understanding of myself would give me a different perspective on this classic work (it has). There are some moments, particularly descriptions of non-white characters, that were commonplace at the time of writing but are now rather uncomfortable to encounter. Even so, Wolfe’s prose always delights me, and I still find myself smiling for no particular reason as I read.
I came across a passage early in the book in which Wolfe recounts Orlando’s early attempts at writing, and I thought that the current and aspiring writers among you would appreciate it:
“Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished; acted his people’s parts as he ate; mouthed them as he walked; now cried; now laughed; vacillated between this style and that; now preferred the heroic and pompous; next the plain and simple; now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall; and could not decide whether he was the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.”
A passage like that really makes me want to employ more semi-colons in my work…
Anyway, happy holidays and I’ll see you in the new year.
All of my best, Kelley