I’ve waited a little while to share this decision until various pieces fell more into place, but at long last, I’m beyond elated to announce that Armes Prydein, my novel in progress for the last several years, has officially become “our” novel: my husband Alexander Stewart is working on it with me as a co-author! It’s a labor of love in more ways than one.
One point of potential confusion that may arise from this news is whether the sheer length and scope of the rough draft has anything to do with this decision. This manuscript still covers three distinct timelines that each have required massive worldbuilding, and even after revisions it’s very unlikely that the final product will fall far below 1 million words. And although I’m a notably verbose person and quick writer when I have the time, this project is thus an order of magnitude larger than my first novel. Plenty of writers have sought ghostwriters or official co-authors for shorter books than this. However, while I doubt I’ll ever write something this long again on my own, either, sharing the writing credit on Armes Prydein is more about content needs than structural ones.
From the very beginning, Armes Prydein’s triple-threaded concept has relied on:
1) the Arthurian saga, “Pair Dadeni” – completely my own creation; rough draft already complete and preliminary revisions in progress
2) an alt-Cold War, magical realist, romantic political thriller, “Cŵn Annwn” – adapted from portions of unpublished collaborative fiction Alex and I wrote between 2012 and 2014; rough draft in progress
3) an apocalyptic cyberpunk story, “Cad Camlan” – originally my own concept but increasingly relying on ideas from Alex, especially once the rough draft gets underway
Despite the disparate nature of these narratives when described reductively, they’re all latently intertwined with their themes and pacing, as well as more directly connected by certain plot points, recurring characters, and all events taking place on the island of Britain. To fully understand each narrative, you’ll need to read the others; there may even be the option for you to choose between reading them as three sequentially separated parts, or reading them as totally interlaced chapters. But most importantly for drafting purposes, in planning ahead I eventually determined that it would not be possible for me to do justice to certain characters in “Cŵn Annwn” whom Alex had written in the past, nor would it be fair to adapt various pieces of prose without Alex’s name attached. And likewise, many of Alex’s character portrayals, worldbuilding contributions, and plot ideas have also proven invaluable for making “Cad Camlan” a reality later.
I want to thank Alex from the bottom of my heart for joining me in this literary journey. The acknowledgments section for Armes Prydein will be enormous on several fronts; but Alex has assumed a particularly unique role, and I’m incredibly proud of what he’s brought to the project so far. At this point I expect not I, but we, shall have finished drafting the entire beast in another 12 to 24 months, putting us officially behind my initial timetable; however, I promise the extra time will be worth it. I am so excited for the public — one way or another — to eventually see what beauties, wonders, and horrors my talented husband can write, and what dreams and nightmares shimmer within our shared imagination.