To mark the launch of Robin Wasserman's first book with Atom, the compulsive thriller causing ripples in the blogosphere, the author introduces us personally to The Book of Blood and Shadow
If you’re reading this, it means that—despite my persistent doubts to the contrary— the 19th of January has actually arrived, and with it, The Book of Blood and Shadow!!! As of right now, the book is officially completed, bound, and shelved for your reading pleasure. And I am turning cartwheels.
I really thought this day would never arrive. (Predictions of imminent apocalypse didn’t help.) This book has been nearly three years in the making and for a person with my quantities of patience (or lack thereof) that might as well have been forever.
They (that omniscient they who always seem so certain of how to make your book a hit) say that you should also claim your newest book is your favorite. But in this case it’s actually true.
I’ve never loved a book of mine like I do The Book of Blood and Shadow – maybe because it was harder to write, took longer to write, required more of me to write than anything else. Or maybe (and this is going to sound extremely narcissistic, so let’s be honest, It’s probably true) it’s because there’s more of me in this book than in any other.
People often ask whether writers’ books are autobiographical and we often—with varying levels of alacrity and volume—tell them no. No way, no how, not at all, not what you’re thinking, Mom. (Well, maybe that last one’s just me.) But when you get down to it, I think every book you write—well, let’s say, every book I write—is about me in some way or another. I just usually don’t realize it until I’m at the end.
I certainly didn’t realize it about this book, since none of the surface details come anywhere close to matching up to my own life. I wasn’t a student at a dinky northeastern prep school, I never did research on an ancient Renaissance text or found myself whisked away to Prague to avenge a murder or save my boyfriend from the shadowy forces of evil. If a centuries-old mystery had come knocking at my door, teenage-me would surely have hid under the bed rather than volunteering to solve it. And grown-up me would say that seemed like a pretty great idea.
None of these characters are me, not exactly; nothing they do is anything I’ve done. But in a way—an obvious one, I guess, since they jumped out of my head—they’re all me, and it turns out that the reason I had to tell this particular story in this particular way, with these people who now feel as real to me as my non-fictional, non-globe-trotting adventure-hunting friends, has everything to do with my life, what matters to me, and what I believe. So, I guess if you’re the kind of person who’s curious about what writers are like and what they secretly think about the world in their deepest heart of hearts, that’s another mystery this book has to offer—good luck sussing it out!
For the rest of you, who don’t care about me and only want a good story that will keep you up at night and distract you from all the stuff you really should be doing instead, hopefully there’s plenty in there for you, too, including secret societies, ancient codes, globe-crossing treasure hunts, vengeful murders, and more than a little of what I hope is some hot and heartbreaking romance.
So…thank you for reading all the way to the end of this, thank you for reading the book (if you decide to do that), and THANK YOU for being an audience of such passionate readers that people are still letting me write books. Speaking of which, perhaps I’d better stop talking now and go write another one.
The Book of Blood and Shadow is published on the 19th January 2012, £6.99; eBook £7
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