It has been another month of line-edits, insertions and deletions; all undoubted improvements, but I always find it unsettling. The text is such a well-traversed field, yet with each tiny change it feels increasingly unfamiliar territory so by the end I want nothing more than to go back and read it all through again.
Excerpt #2, like the first, came Runner-up in the Pikihuia Awards. With Rise and Shine I was pleased to get a literary award for a fantasy extract. With House of Mirrors, it was still fantasy, of course, but also a set-piece from almost the middle of the book: like a cold splash of water to the reader, given the unfamiliarity of the setting, lack of character intros, and general assumptions it makes of the reader’s knowledge. Far from a safe bet, so success at the Awards meant a lot, especially with the excellent Briar Grace-Smith as judge. I think it works well enough as an introduction for Tanner without spoiling too much.
This excerpt includes the latest trial cover for the novel. It illustrates another aspect of the story, the political side. House of Mirrors takes a broad, inclusive brush to matters of political philosophy and sociology; the political motivations of the Crown and its actions are also significant in this part of the book. But the real political in the book, for me, is the personal, the choices and changes the characters make in dealing with power. So the pawn is an apt image and I’d be happy if it was what we finally decide upon.