It's time to return to that eternal question — when is the next book in Philip Mazza’s The Harrow Saga coming out?
Fans have been anxiously waiting for Mazza to put the finishing touches on Shadow in the Flame, for nearly two years now. And so far, they’ve been waiting in vain — even though there’s a release date for the book (early 2018), and Mazza says there will only be a final date once he’s finished writing it.
In a recent conversation with Mazza he said that "much of the book is written. Hundreds of pages and a dozen or so chapters." But he added that he was still "many months away" from finishing, and in classic Mazza fashion, "it'll get done when it's done."
Well, we agree with that. As the Guardian said in its review "It is a complex tale but one that delights.” Complex tales take time. But Mazza has several other projects for Omni, two projects to be exact.
Indeed, Mazza’s progress has been so slow, in large part due to our request for a Special Edition to From Under a Tree and the Shadow In the Flame set to release in 2020.
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Well, I’m putting the finishing touches on the appendices for the special edition. It’s not been easy, for sure, but I believe folks will be pleased with the result.
The appendices are very revealing and will help the reader to better understand the world of the Harrow. An outline of the appendices was started early on in the crafting of the tale. This was necessary to ensure continuity. I think most readers will be fascinated with the tenets of the I’ Ra Heru and how they drive the noble race of felines, the Ra Cath.
But getting to the end-point is never easy or quick.
I try to write each day but with a full time job it is difficult. Lately, I am up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM each day. My routine is a simple one. I read the news and check my work email. I then will check email pertaining to my books. Lastly, I try to write at least 500 words. Rarely do I meet my goal. Then, after a long day of work I return home and again complete the same routine. Maybe, just maybe I will write 500 words in a day when I should be writing 1,000 and more.
Such is life, pressing all kinds of burdens on each of us. Yet, the burden of writing fiction is most arduous. Let me explain, and let's start here . . .
Why do you read novels? They won’t teach you how to solve the annoying problems of your life, or help you manage your finances better.
We read fiction to escape the world for a little while – to escape the limits of our own experience, our own perspective, our own consciousness. When we open a novel, we’re looking, above all, for a story that matters to us.
That’s why fiction writers have it so tough.
When I’m writing a single scene in a novel, there’s so much to be done. The characters need to feel real – they need to live and breathe on the page. The scene needs to be paced correctly – not too fast, not too slow. The dialogue has to sound natural, without actually being natural. The voice needs to be mine – but filtered through the head of a character that might be nothing like me. The plot has to be moved on.
So you see, writing fiction takes time and rewriting takes focused effort and even more time.
Stories can be strong and powerful, but one mistake in continuity, in fact, in balance, in punctuation—one mistake in any element—can destroy the reader’s suspension of disbelief. Whether it’s the absence of an element that should be there, the presence of an element that shouldn’t be there, or a mistake in the portrayal of some element, a single problem in fiction can ruin the reader’s enjoyment of the story.
There are so many ways for a story to go wrong that it’s a true wonder when stories so often go right, when the elements combine to form a believable world of never-before-imagined people and events.
I’m saying that writing fiction is hard because there are so many moving parts. You touch one, and they all go wobbling. Therefore you’ve got to learn not only how to manipulate all the fiction elements and the basic writing elements, but you’ve got to learn how a change in one story component affects every other component.
But no fear, in time the story can be revealed.
It's all about patience!
Well, the holidays are over and I’m back at it.
Many readers have sent emails asking about my progress on both the Special Edition of Book One and Book Two. I am finishing up the appendices that will appear in the Special Edition and once that is completed I will set my sights on completing Book Two: Shadow in the Flame.
Many of the appendices had been written in advance, providing the foundation for the Harrow Saga.
About the appendices . . .
The first Appendix is an excerpt from a section of the Book of Histories, or I' Qarma En' Ilya. The Book of Histories, or I' Qarma En' Ilya is actually a compilation of writings from the many historians over the ages, or Coiasira. Readers will recognize Tollen Popperdock, or Brows as a historian and contributor to the I' Qarma En' Ilya.
The section is called the Sinome A’ Eller and is the first in the book. It is useful for anyone who wants to understand the creation of the Harrow. Where did it come from? How did it come into existence? It also reveals the formation of the races. This Appendix reads like scripture and the narrative style very different. Within this appendix the reader will also note the Tree of Races.
The second Appendix is another excerpt from the I' Qarma En' Ilya, but from a different section of the grand book. The section is called the Parma En’ Quenta and deals with time and ages in the Harrow. Here, we learn more about how time is measured, the seasons, and of the three ages. The narrative style is that of an historian who is summarizing information.
The last Appendix is an excerpt from the En’ Sanye Cath, or Book of Teachings of the Heru. The excerpt is taken from a section called the Sanye A’ Olwen, or the mystical tenets of the I’ Ra Heru. It provides a basis for attempting to understand the very complex teachings of the Ra Cath’s Father Creator, or I’ Ra Heru.
Always remember – ideas need to be born first, which is a messy process. Thus, the idea is a baby – a stinking smelly mess that will hijack all your attention and cause you to lay awake at night, worrying if it will ever become independent.
There will be more to come over the next few months.
This special edition book will be published to commemorate the second anniversary of the first printing of From Under a Tree. The book will feature a map of the Harrow, an introduction by the author, a few new scenes, and appendices containing historical background of the events of the Harrow.
The appendices include material that adds to the depth of Harrow and elaborates the stories of individual characters, but would have slowed down the main narrative too much to be included there. It is possible to read, enjoy and understand From Under a Tree without this information, but the appendices reward the reader with enhanced understanding of the characters, history, and culture of the Harrow. Within the appendices you will learn the chronology of the Ages: The Age of Fire, The Age of Kings, and The Age of War. You will experience the Ay' Panul, or great upheaval, and the mystical tenets of the I' Ra Heru, the mighty father feline creator of the Ra Cath.
Remember: Our secrets are those things which give us identity.
Omni Publishers is pleased to reveal the new back cover to the Harrow Saga. www.theharrowbooks.com