The good news and the bad…

There hasn’t been a week since I self-published the first three books in The Ballad of Sir Benfro when someone hasn’t contacted my through email, Twitter, Facebook or comments here asking when book four, The Broken World, is coming out. My intention last year (was it only last year?) was to finish the third McLean book, The Hangman’s Song, in time for self-publishing in the run-up to Christmas, following which I would get stuck into writing The Broken World for publication this summer. It’s November now, and neither book are available yet. What’s happened? I hear you ask.

Well, not really. You all know what happened. Penguin came along and snapped up the McLean books. Such was the success of the first two, that even before The Hangman’s Song is published, I was made an offer for three more in the series that I really couldn’t decline. The problem with that offer was that my editor wanted to keep up the six months between books schedule that we’ve stuck to so far (sort of). I can see the logic in this. Part of the success of the books has been down to there being two available relatively quickly, with a third already scheduled for publication. Readers love series, especially when they discover a new one. By keeping the McLean books coming, I can build up a large fan base in a relatively short time.

To this end, I had to shelve the writing of The Broken World and concentrate instead on McLean book four (as yet untitled, and that’s a tricky situation to be in). I am almost finished on the first draft, but no sooner will I have handed that one in than I’ll have to start writing the next one. And then come July, I’ll be straight into the sixth in the series.

For all of you wailing and gnashing your teeth at this point, I can assure you that Benfro has not been forgotten. I have been plotting like a mad thing, using fantasy as a palate cleanser between bouts of writing crime. The Broken World will be finished, and it will be published. That is surely good news.

The bad news is that you’re going to have to wait a while to see it. And oddly enough, that’s good news for me.

Penguin, it seems, so love my writing that they’re going to publish the whole of The Ballad of Sir Benfro – five books in total – starting next autumn. The deal was announced just as World Fantasy Con opened last weekend.

I am conflicted. Of course I’m delighted, over the moon, speechless, my gast well and truly flabbered and many, many superlatives to boot. My little dragon, Benfro, who first began to form in my mind almost ten years ago, is going to be published, and by Penguin. Excited doesn’t begin to cover it.

But on the other hand, it does mean that all you lovely people who have read the first three books, loved them and come begging for more are going to have to be just a little bit patient. The rest of the world needs to catch up with the adventures of Benfro, Errol, Beulah, Melyn and the rest before I can roll out The Broken World. And then there’s book five to follow.

I really don’t like breaking my promises, and I promised that Benfro book four would be out this Summer. Alas, circumstance has made a liar of me, and for that I really am sorry.

On the other hand, Penguin are going to publish Sir Benfro! Squeeee!

13 Responses to The good news and the bad…

  1. sandra November 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    What can I say what wonderful news So so pleased for you. It just means I will have to read Benfro all over again( that will be the 4th time then.) And have per ordered The Hangman’s song With more to come well done You. Film for Benfro next is a must.
    Congratulations. Sandra

    • jameso November 9, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks, Sandra. I still feel like I’m letting everyone down, but a film deal would make it a bit more palatable!

  2. Roddy Williams November 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    I’m glad. I like McLean

    • jameso November 9, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      Me too. And he’s been very good to me these past eighteen months!

  3. Maggie November 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    I don’t mind what you write, or when you write it. I look forward to whatever comes from your pen. It;s such a joy to find a new writer who writes such wonderful books. I have to ration myself reading them so that I don’t finish them too quickly.

  4. Trish McDee November 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    As a McLean fan, I can’t complain! Well done re the other books, though. A great achievement.
    Trish

  5. Mary January 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    Very excited for you congratulations. I will be waiting patiently for book 4 of Benfro. Loved the three you have written so far.
    Keep up the great works.
    Mary

    • jameso January 3, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

      Thank you Mary. I am almost done writing Benfro book four now. It will be out soon(ish)! And then there will be book five to look forward to…

  6. Zoe Webber March 1, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    I have only recently discovered the ballad of Sir Benfro, although I could not put them down once I had started. I was really sad when I finished The Golden Cage as I realised it wasn’t the end, so I looked and found your blog. I am relieved to know that the story has not yet ended. I was just sincerely hoping that the general cover design would remain the same, as they are pretty much the most amazing covers I have ever had the delight of seeing 🙂 (congrats on the penguin offer)

    • jameso March 2, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

      Hi Zoe,

      I am delighted with the Penguin covers for the books, and waiting anxiously to see what they come up with for book four! I am sure it will continue the theme. Very pleased to hear you like the books, and not too long to wait for the next one!

  7. Margie Dobson March 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    Really looking forward to Sir Benfro 4 and 5. Love the McLeans too, and so does my daughter who has come up with a new category for them – Gothic cops!

  8. MaryLyn November 12, 2015 at 5:06 am #

    I’m really glad that there is going to be a book five! I really love the Ballad of Sir Benfro, I’m almost finished book three, and I can’t wait for book four! Your characters are amazing, easy to relate with, and I really hope that your books are published soon!

    (Plus, the name Benfro is really great. It suits him)

    P.S. The book covers are beautiful and my best friend says that they are gorgeous!

    • jameso November 17, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

      Thank you! I love the covers too. From quite early on in the planning I knew there would be five books in the series, but a lot of people thought it was a trilogy. I’ve no idea why, other than that quite a lot of fantasy comes in threes. I’m halfway through writing book five now, and it should be out next September. Then I’ll have to come up with something else to write…

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