Page proofs of COLD STEEL are complete and turned in.
The over-abundance of orange post-its has to do with a typesetting glitch (which I have been given to understand is already corrected).
This officially is the cleanest set of page proofs I’ve ever gone over. In a 597 page manuscript I personally found only four mistakes (the official proofreader called attention to a couple of other things for a total of perhaps 8 mistakes). The rest are small changes I made because I cannot stop niggling with the manuscript. Substituting one noun because I had repeated a different noun four times. Replacing a slightly clunky line of dialogue with a sharper snarkier one. And so on.
BUT IT IS NOW DONE. In other words, I can’t change anything else even if I wanted to.
Meanwhile, sometime later this week Orbit UK will be announcing the release of all seven of the Crown of Stars books in digital editions. They asked me to write up a Crown of Stars Retrospective post (in whatever manner I wanted to retrospect the series), and composing that short essay took all my post-writing time for the week. So I still have not completed the second part of the post on the Creole of Expedition (Part One here). In fact, I have no Monday post ready to go at all, and thus because I determined to post every Monday like I promised, I decided here today to reprise a post from May 2011 in which I group the most common reactions to Andevai as he appears in Cold Magic into five basic descriptions. I did this because reactions were very divided, and also because I knew once Cold Fire came out, I would likely get a new set of reactions.
Here they are, five ways of seeing Andevai (behind a cut so those who remember the post can, if they wish, skip it):
1) Cookie-cutter and completely cliched arrogant jerk stuck into the book because author felt obliged to have a non-essential and pointless romance element.
2) Arrogant jerk who is borderline abusive. Despite the things he does to aid Cat (and Bee) in the last third of the book, it is unlikely there is anything he can ever do in book two to redeem himself for how awful he is to her at the beginning.
3) My god, what an arrogant jerk. I didn’t like him, but I can see that he has reasons for being an arrogant jerk and I did recognize that he changed in some ways over the course of the book. I just wish there had been more reasons to like him and/or to believe he fell in love with her at first sight as he claims in the end, because I don’t see much evidence for it, and I don’t really see why Cat could be attracted to him besides that it is stated that he is strikingly handsome. Still, I’ll withhold final judgment until book two.
4) Yes, he’s an arrogant jerk at first, but arrogance is how he has learned to protect himself from the difficult situation he was forced into years ago, and we slowly see layers of his background and personality revealed as he begins to respond to Cat’s presence and predicament with his own very cautious, tentative, and even awkward attempts at change. As one (older male academic) reader put it: “Andevai is a deeply divided character whose attachment to Cat represents his struggle to come to terms with a part of himself.”
5) I totally love me some arrogant-jerk sulky snarky handsome bad boys. Can’t wait until book two!
My goal has always been for readers’ view of him to change as they read Cold Fire. I don’t know how many of the people who really disliked him in Book One (if they even read Book Two) came to like him in Book Two, but perhaps they felt they better understood him. Perhaps the most challenging element of writing Cold Fire was in making his personality consistent as he shifts through this slow transformation and reveal of the different sides of his character.