In the autumn of 2006, I started writing a story called Dark Eden, set in an icebound future world. At the center of that story was a girl named Saba; her brother, Lugh; and her sister, Emmi. Working at my kitchen table, zipped into a sleeping bag for warmth as autumn turned to winter, I couldn’t possibly have imagined where our road would take us: that the four of us would stick together for seven years as the ice and caves of Dark Eden slowly morphed into the heat and vast plains of Blood Red Road, and as Saba’s story rolled out through Rebel Heart and, finally, Raging Star to become the Dust Lands trilogy. I didn’t plan to write a trilogy. I had little enough confidence that I’d be able to complete one book; the mere notion of three would have sent me running for the hills.
Nor could I have imagined that Saba would bring me such luck: that the books would be welcomed by readers worldwide and win literary prizes in the US, UK, Canada, and France; that Ridley Scott would buy the film rights; that I’d record my own audiobooks; that fansites would be born; that my world would expand to include agents, publishers, booksellers, moviemakers, writers, bloggers, teachers, librarians, and readers and fans of all ages, every one of them passionate about books and the power of stories. I am privileged indeed.
Writing, for me, is slow, difficult, and rarely joyous. It’s also immensely satisfying, the most hopeful thing I can do and entirely necessary for my sanity. Three books on, I’m still a novice, but I’ve learned a little about writing and being a writer. The most valuable is this: you have to stick with it, day after day. Write, write, and write some more. Good words, bad words, mediocre words, gorgeous words. That’s how a story comes to life, how a book is written, how you learn to structure it over thousands of words and not have it collapse; writing, day after day, is how you learn and improve as a writer. I’ve also worked with the same writers’ group for the past ten years and would have given up long ago were it not for their support and critical input.
It will be sad to say farewell to the characters and world of the Dust Lands. I’ll miss them all and, most particularly, Saba. We’ve travelled a long, hard, thrilling road together. But this is where she and I must part company. It’s time for me to discover the other stories I’ve got to tell. Thank you so much for your brilliant support of the Dust Lands trilogy. I’m more grateful than I can say. Keep on reading and sharing the books that you love. Our world today needs stories more than ever.