Researching New Thieftaker Books

One of the things that often strikes friends and family as strange about my work is the distance in time between “what I’m working on” and “what I have coming out.”  We are still six months away from the July release of Thieftaker, book I in the Thieftaker Chronicles, and yet this week I have started researching books 3 and 4 in the series.

Books III and IV are not yet under contract, though I hope to take care of that sometime this spring.  (As an aside, I’ll note that book II, Thieves’ Quarry, is under contract and is, in fact, already written and with my editor.  I expect I’ll be working on revisions to the book later this year.)  And so I am starting to work up proposals for the third and fourth volumes.  And because the Thieftaker books are all historical fantasy, that means research — reading books, finding those little facts that will bring my setting to life, and looking for ways to weave magic and intrigue into actual historical events.

That’s what I’ve started working on this week, and just two days in I’m already having tons of fun.  As a professional historian, I didn’t really enjoy research that much.  Maybe it was because I knew that the research would lead to writing monographs and articles filled with arcane arguments and lots of footnotes.  Some people, including several friends, enjoy writing history — I admire them and their work.  But it was never right for me. Doing research for novels, on the other hand — thinking of ways to insert Ethan Kaille, my lead character, into the action — has been a blast.

I won’t tell you too much about what I’m thinking right now, in part because my plotting of the third and fourth Thieftaker books remains very, very, VERY sketchy.  But I will tell you that I’m researching the Boston Massacre and the trial of Captain Thomas Preston and the British soldiers who fired into a mob of Bostonians on the night of March 5, 1770.  These events should provide ample material for a couple of entertaining books.

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