A Long Gestation

It’s here at last! The long-awaited sequel to The Maestro will be on book shelves, everywhere, in just sixty days!

Published by Candlewick Press

Okay, “long-awaited” might be a bit of a stretch. You probably didn’t even know there was supposed to be a sequel. Full disclosure — neither did I. And as sequels go this one has been remarkably tardy. In fact, it’s been so long in coming that Burl, the sixteen-year-old protagonist of The Maestro, has had enough time to go to university, get married and have a sixteen-year-old son of his own. So, the Starlight Claim is what you might call an intergenerational sequel.

In my many years of teaching I’ve run into quite a few busy scriveners working on series, a trilogy, at least, if not, let’s say, an heptology. I’ve never been able to do that, myself — see a narrative arc that stretches off into the deep blue. In my capacity as instructor, I usually get to see an early draft of Book One in the great saga the aspiring writer has planned and, while there have been notable exceptions, a lot of the times the first crack at Book One is jam-packed with world building — AKA backstory — and not a lot else. Not enough else. I’ll ask the writer about some plot development like when is the doughty heroine, Grönagh, going to meet the irrepressible rascal, Slapnik, and be told, “Oh, that’s going to happen in Book Three.” I’ll wonder out loud whether there might be a chance of some good fun action, early on – how about the hero duelling with the dragon? “No, no, no – that’s going to be the thrilling climax of Book Five.” 

And like that.

 A lot of times what I end up saying, as gently as I can, is that unless the first book is… you know, interesting, filled with things happening, not to mention a host of characters we get to know and care about — love and hate — there won’t be a Book One let alone a sequel. Not one that any publisher will be interested in. 

That said, I do admire the vision of those writers who see their way to setting out on the grand adventure of The Very Long Narrative. At the rate I’m going, a heptology of the Crow family’s epic saga would reach its final peroration somewhere around 2139. 

Published by Groundwood Books

This time it’s Nate Crow (named after the maestro, himself, Nathaniel Orlando Gow) who’s travelling solo into the Boreal wilderness of Northern Ontario, with a weight on his heart and a weight on his conscience even bigger than the weight he’s carrying on his back as he snowshoes to the cabin his father built on the footprint of the maestro’s hideaway. You’ll want to read The Maestro to find out what happened to the original cabin. Mercifully it’s still in print – the book I mean, not the cabin. 

It’s March Break, as the story begins, but because this is northern Ontario, it’s still deep winter and there’s a massive snow front moving in. That, unfortunately, is not the only problem awaiting Nate on the north shore of Ghost Lake. There’s unfinished business and unexpected guests. Did I say Ghost Lake was isolated? You bet it is. There’s no one for Nate to reach out to for help. No bars on his phone. No way out. Unless… 

Over the years I’ve had hundreds of fans ask me what happened to Burl and what happened to his awful father. They often have suggestions. Well, I’ve finally answered those very good questions and just wanted everyone to know that the wait is over! What’s two months after twenty-four years?

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