Because Some People Cared Enough to Ask...

Map from Noel in Argentina; original artwork by Beth Norling
It is an unfortunate truth of this writing life that sometimes even your best ideas just don't work out.

Some time ago -- a long time ago now -- I let on that I was working on a new Tremaris book. It was true, and I was really excited about it, looking forward to returning to the world that had given me so much pleasure. This story was going to focus on Calwyn's daughter, and it would tie up some of the loose ends left dangling at the end of The Taste of Lightning, bringing back some of the characters from that book, as well as revisiting the cast of the original Tremaris trilogy and filling in their stories in the intervening years.

Hm. I think I can see where the problems started. That is an ambitious plan for one little book!

But that wasn't the only problem. It was hard to work out how much time to spend with the Taste of Lightning characters, and how many of them to bring back, and which ones. I knew some people really wanted to know what had happened to Calwyn and Darrow, but I wanted the focus to  be on the younger characters, not the adults, as they would now be. My stage was becoming very crowded, jostling with characters who all demanded a voice and attention. I had a loose plot which I kept adjusting as I changed my mind about the balance of the story, adding and subtracting characters. I knew I wanted to set the bulk of my story in a part of Tremaris that I hadn't visited yet, the marshlands of the north. Then Julie Hunt's Song for a Scarlet Runner was published, and I despaired of writing a marsh story as good as hers!

I wrote, and started again, and replanned, and rewrote, and changed my mind, and started again. I had a beginning that I liked, but the story kept bogging down (ha!) at one particular point in the narrative, and I couldn't seem to heft the story over that roadblock and get it moving again. I quite liked some of the marsh scenes, but others fell flat. The mix of characters I'd ended up with didn't feel quite right. But the more I chopped and changed, the more my grasp of the story, my original conception, seemed to be slipping through my fingers.

But most importantly, while I was working on this book, my family suffered a major upheaval. My father had a debilitating stroke, my elderly mother came to live with us, and my family responsibilities had doubled overnight. It was a stressful and upsetting time, and I had limited energy and attention to spare for writing novels. It's hard to finish a book when you spend a long time away from it; it slips away from you. You forget what you were trying to do in the first place, and the work becomes a chore and a burden rather than a source of delight.

Finally, about three years after I'd first decided to write a Tremaris book ( a nice, easy, enjoyable book, I'd told myself!) I slogged my way to a finish line. Deep down I knew the manuscript was broken, perhaps beyond repair, and it was no surprise that my publisher agreed. At the back of my mind I'd wondered whether, if my publishers said no, I might self-publish it; but now I know that I don't want to do that either. I'm not happy with it. It doesn't work. And if you are a fan of Tremaris, you deserve better than that.

I'm not saying that there will never be another Tremaris story. But not this one. Not for now, anyway.

All I can say is, I'm so sorry.


  1. Kate,
    I am sorry to hear of the difficulties life has brought you lately. As a fan of the series since I was a child, I'll always wait for the next Tremaris book, regardless of when it comes out, if ever. I'll always be grateful for you writing my favorite book series. Take care.

  2. Thank you, that means a lot to me! You take care too.

  3. Oh, I'm sorry to hear that it's not working out right now! I've loved the Chanters of Tremaris series. I'd always welcome more books because they are so fantastic!

    Hope your family is doing better now!

    1. Thank you, Louisa. I am still writing, just not about Tremaris -- not at the moment anyway. The family is doing well, it just takes a lot of work :-)

  4. Dear Kate,
    I was so sorry to hear about your 'broken' book and the continuing family challenges and difficulties that have been so hard to combine with your writing. (I cared for both parents also).
    all the best,
    ps Next time you visit lovely Castlemaine, please look me up!

    1. Thank you, Susan. I've often thought of your previous comment about caring for your parents, and taken heart from it. I would love to see you in Castlemaine! Next time I'm up that way, I will let you know.

  5. Dear Kate,
    I just wanted to tell you that you are one of my favourite writers, and that The Singer of All Songs is my favorite book I have ever read (it maybe even be time to re-read the series again).
    I am sorry to hear of your troubles over your most recent manuscript, but wanted to thank you for all your work that you put into it. Though it may never see the light of day, it still represents your hard work, and is no less a piece of your journey as a writer.
    You once wrote to me ten years ago when I sent a fan email. At the time I had just finished high school and had moved out of home to study film and television in Armidale, NSW (I now work in Melbourne after studying acting at VCA). It meant so much to me that one of my favorite artists had written me, and I hope that you know that your storytelling still inspires me to this day. Though a 29 year old male might not be your most likely fan, I will treasure your books always, and keep them until I can read them to any daughter or son I may have in the future.
    Thank you for all your writing (published or otherwise), and I hope that all is well with your family.
    All the best,
    Nick James

  6. Dear Nick,

    Thank you so much for that lovely message, I was really touched by your words. I'm so happy that you still have good memories of the Chanters books, and I'm thrilled that your career has brought you to Melbourne!
    I wish you all the very best with your future, and I love the idea that you might share the Tremaris books with your potential future children (though that thought makes me feel very old :)
    Best wishes,