What I’m Working On . . .

by Jeff Abbott on March 6, 2009

I’ve said virtually nothing about the book I’m writing now, but I will say this: it’s the first in a new series, and I have never been more excited about a project. How’s that for a teaser? I want to get the book done, obviously, before I share much more but I wanted you all to know what I’m working on. Details to come.
I’ve spent a lot of time this week going back over the current manuscript and marking it up with red pen and revisiting and revising my outline. I don’t want to say more other than it’s just the sausage-making part of writing that I suspect readers don’t want to hear about. Lots of cutting, rewriting, moving around, rethinking. 
I’ve also increased my presence on Twitter. It could be another Internet crack pipe but I think the 140 character limit on postings forces you to be brief and not spend too much time. It also forces you to be entertaining. You can follow me here. (I think.) My friend Joseph Finder wrote a terrific blog piece about being a Twittering author.
Now back to mortal combat with my revised outline. The good thing is, and I’ll say it again: I have never been so excited about a book I’m writing.

What I’ve Read:

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud. 
No I didn’t read them all this week, but I did finish Ptolemy’s Gate this week. I read them based on the recommendation of a bookseller friend, and probably wouldn’t have without his endorsement, which would be foolish of me. I don’t read a lot of fantasy but I’m reading more because it’s what my kids like and I want to share with them; I loved these books. (They are aimed more at teens though, than younger kids.) I think even readers who don’t typically read fantasy but enjoyed the Harry Potter novels would love these books (although they are a bit darker and more violent than the Potters.)
Stroud has created a fascinating alternate history: one where the British Empire rose based on magical power. In this world, magicians are the governing class (and rule with an iron hand over “commoners”, those without magical ability or training). But all the magicians’ power derives from their control of djinn, powerful beings from “The Other Place” who are forced to use their powers over the physical world to do the magicians’ bidding. Bartimaeus is a funny, wry, wickedly smart djinn who is summoned and bound into the service of Nathaniel, a young, ambitious magician who has been taken from his family as a small child and groomed as the apprentice of a humdrum magician. A commoner named Kitty, a smart, resourceful girl who has a personal vendetta against the magician class, is the third main character–her life keeps intersecting with that of Bartimaeus and Nathaniel as they fight off enemies of the Empire. The books have plenty of action, intrigue, mystery, and magic, and were a very satisfying read. They touch on the themes of power, responsbility, and freedom in a compelling way. But what makes them great are the characters. Bartimaeus, Nathaniel, and Kitty are marvelous companions in Stroud’s world and they give the story a real emotional texture. My highest recommendation.

    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    J.T. Ellison March 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Since I’ve been lucky enough to be at the receiving end of your recommendations (Riordan’s Percy Jackson, anyone?) I will put these on my list. I need a good escape right now. Thanks!
    And can’t wait to hear about the new book. There is nothing better than being excited about your work.

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