Prequel Books are Still Books

I've been having an odd argument with the good people of Goodreads.

THE NEW HUNGER is my second book. It's the second book in the Warm Bodies series. Yet for some reason, Goodreads wants to call it "Warm Bodies 0.5"

The half-book status I can understand, since it IS a novella, so call it "1.5" if you want...but zero? What is that? If the first book in a series is book 1, then book 0 would have to be...a book that doesn't exist. But this book does exist. You can buy it here. So what's with the zero?

Well, THE NEW HUNGER is a prequel. The story (most of it) takes place before the events of WARM BODIES, and apparently, to a lot of people that means it's somehow a "negative installment" or even not a part of the series at all. As one news item put it, "Marion is calling this a 4-book series, even though one of the books is a prequel."

I don't like this, you guys. This is nonsense. A prequel is as much a "real book" as a flashback is a "real scene" and its place in the series is wherever the author put it. 

I didn't write THE NEW HUNGER after WARM BODIES by mistake. It's not "out of order" any more than flashbacks are out of order. It's book 2 for a reason: because your knowledge of book 1 changes the way you read it. It attaches a premonition of hope to an otherwise bleak outcome. Prequels are unique because they tell a story in two overlaid layers of time: the one playing out in these present events, and the one playing out in your memory of the future. And if you take it upon yourself to "fix" the author's "error" and rearrange the books, you lose all that.

So can we keep this book in the series? Can we stop shoving it to the back like supplementary bonus material? Because even if it's not apparent yet, I assure you THE NEW HUNGER is a crucial link in this story. It lays the foundation for much of what's coming, and without it you're going to find yourself quite lost in THE BURNING WORLD.

Ok, the weight is lifted, I'm glad we understand each other, I love you, thank you, goodnight.

-Isaac

WARM BODIES - THE NEW HUNGER - THE BURNING WORLD - THE LIVING

A few months ago, I told you I'd finished the sequel to Warm Bodies. I told you I was calling it The Living, and then I retreated into the editing cave to read what I had wrought. It was the first time I'd experienced the whole story as one piece, and upon reaching the end, I had a realization:

This wasn't the single mammoth tome I thought I'd written. In structure, rhythm, and theme, it was actually two books.

This is why it took me three years of obsessive 7-days-a-week work, why I withdrew from life and lost friendships and grew a white patch in my beard. I knew it was a big story, but it wasn't until it was complete that I could see its real shape: two arcs, two endings, 900 pages...

Maybe the 900 pages should have been my first clue. That would have been a dauntingly long book--about three times as long as Warm Bodies--but what matters more than page count is how the story naturally wants to unfold, and if the story wants two books, who am I to argue?

Sometimes the baby comes out twins.

So without further throat-clearing, I'm proud to announce the final two installments in the Warm Bodies Series:

THE BURNING WORLD
July 5th, 2016

 

THE LIVING
2017

 

I'm so excited. I hope you are too. It's going to be a weird and wonderful ride to the conclusion of this story, and while I'm sorry we have wait another year to get there, keep in mind The Burning World is nearly twice the length of Warm Bodies, so you're going to have plenty to chew on. (no zombie pun intended, ever.)

And to anyone worried I'm pulling a Hollywood and trying to stretch a small story across several installments: nope. This is a huge story. It was always a huge story. It's about people discovering who they are across multiple eras of their lives, it's about isolation and love and the many kinds of death, it's about the animal fears that rule civilization and what it might take to overcome them, a doomsday church and an undead corporation and an infinite ladder to the future of all life. Two books should just barely contain it.

So thanks for hanging on with me through these twists and turns of publishing. Nothing in my life happens normally.

 

-Isaac