And so it begins. Wayward, the sequel to Wanderers, is slowly born into the world. Beginning now, with a cover reveal and an excerpt you can find over at io9.
Cover here, and reveal there —
Cover design is by Carlos Beltrán and David Stevenson. Cover art is by Michael Bryan. Beautiful work and I’m lucky here. Makes a lovely companion and contrast to the first book’s cover, too, I think!
I’m editing the book now — I say this not to humble-brag overmuch, but my editor (the miraculous Tricia Narwani, at Del Rey) returned what was honestly a fairly kind edit, feeling like the book did what I set out to do with it. And I was so certain that I couldn’t have gotten it right! Because this was the first book I really wrote during the pandemic. I entered the Quarantimes and honestly could not for the life of me get my shit together to write anything new. A blog post, a tweet, those were about as much as I could cobble together. New words would not arrive.
But then, September of 2020, I started this, and it was a slow return to the process. A one-step-at-a-time approach. I liken it to learning how to move again after an injury. Physical therapy demands you not force it, but still, that you move — slow, methodical, and gentle. As such, I gained steam over the months and finished it, if I recall, in July of 2021. To my surprise, it ended up at the same word count as Wanderers, which is to say, a whopping 280,000 words.
I expected, when looking at it again, I would discover that what I turned into my editor was a tome of absolute gibberish. ALL COVID NO PLAY MAKES CHUCK A FRENZIED BADGER or something, over and over again.
But no! It was a book! And maybe a… good one? (That one is on you to decide, I suppose. But if my editor is happy, then I am happy.)
Still. Going back now is like reading a book written partly during a fugue state. I remember it, but only hazily. That’s strange. But I’ll take it, because it’s a book-shaped thing.
It’s weird too that I wrote a pandemic novel, then a pandemic happened, and then during that pandemic I’m writing a post-pandemic novel. Hopefully I’m predicting the end of this pandemic?
(Because it sucks. The pandemic super fucking sucks.)
Anyway! I edit this mammoth beast, and slowly usher it to its birth on August 2nd, 2022.
Five years ago, ordinary Americans fell under the grip of a strange new malady that caused them to sleepwalk across the country to a destination only they knew. They were followed on their quest by the shepherds: friends and family who gave up everything to protect them.
Their secret destination: Ouray, a small town in Colorado that would become one of the last outposts of civilization. Because the sleepwalking epidemic was only the first in a chain of events that led to the end of the world—and the birth of a new one.
The survivors, sleepwalkers and shepherds alike, have a dream of rebuilding human society. Among them are Benji, the scientist struggling through grief to lead the town; Marcy, the former police officer who wants only to look after the people she loves; and Shana, the teenage girl who became the first shepherd—and an unlikely hero whose courage will be needed again.
Because the people of Ouray are not the only survivors, and the world they are building is fragile. The forces of cruelty and brutality are amassing under the leadership of self-proclaimed president Ed Creel. And in the very heart of Ouray, the most powerful survivor of all is plotting its own vision for the new world: Black Swan, the A.I. who imagined the apocalypse.
Against these threats, Benji, Marcy, Shana, and the rest have only one hope: one another. Because the only way to survive the end of the world is together.
You of course can absolutely pre-order the book now.
Pre-order through Del Rey / Penguin Random House here.
Though between you me and the wall, the coolest people will pre-order through a beloved indie bookstore, one that will almost certainly ship to them. If you want signed and personalized copies, you could do worse than ordering through my local, Doylestown Bookshop, who will facilitate that for you and get you your book upon its release.
My intent is to tour in person for this book, but I say that knowing full well that now there’s OMICRON and tomorrow there’s OMEGA and then there’s MEGATRON and by August it’s very possible we’ll all be pissed off because anti-vaxxers will be eating gunpowder and monkey shit to stave off COVID and the rest of us will be sad because our breakfast boosters stop working by dinner. But fingers crossed I’ll actually be able to escape into the world and do some in-person events for launch.
Time will tell.
Pre-orders help authors not to die.
Tell your friends and loved ones and random passersby.
Be safe. Find mirth. BYE.