This is how The Grand Design begins

It’s Halloween, in the year all of this has begun, and I didn’t want to wait—or make all of you lovely people wait—any longer to share the news. More details will follow later with the formal press release, and the launch of the new website and blog, and all the excitement that is going to follow. But for now, I simply want to say it: Shadow Mountain Publishing (the company that made Brandon Mull’s FABLEHAVEN into a New York Times bestseller) and I have reached an agreement for an eight-book deal encompassing a three-book nonfiction series, and a new five-book illustrated YA series.

The first contract is for The Meditations: DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS, THE BARBIZON DIARIES, and THE GRAND DESIGN, which will be published in all new two-color hardcover editions in February, June, and September of next year. These releases will be anchored by a national speaking tour and appearances at ALA, BEA, Comicon and other venues.

The second contract, which is also the most substantial deal I have ever signed in my career, is also a kind of homecoming for me: a five-book series called FOOL’S HOLLOW. My career began two decades ago with the graphic novel series STARCHILD—which was never completed. A lot of the readers of my bestselling IMAGINARIUM GEOGRAPHICA books have also been comics fans who wanted me to continue the story—but I realized I had changed too much as a storyteller and illustrator to finish that story . . . as comics. But I had improved and gained a lot of experience in the intervening years, and I could retell—and finish—the stories better as illustrated novels. And that’s what I’m going to do.

Moreover, we’re also in the process of collaborating with the Executive Producer and Associate Producer of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, Mark Ordesky and Rick Porras respectively, to bring FOOL’S HOLLOW to the silver screen as a CGI film; and I am collaborating with the remarkable musician S.J. Tucker to produce an album of songs inspired by the books. Maquettes for the film development have already been sculpted by the brilliant Jason Warren, and I am adapting the screenplay and storyboards from the first novel, which will be released in October of 2013. Mark and Rick and I have wanted to work together for some time, and so had S.J. Tucker and I.

With Shadow Mountain, my editor, Lisa Mangum, heard me speak last February at a symposium, and then waited in line for three hours that night to tell me if I ever wanted to work with them, I had an open door. In May, she and the publisher flew to Arizona to talk me into a deal. And that deal gradually expanded to include my most important work (The Meditations) and the work closest to my heart (FOOL’S HOLLOW). Now that this is being made public, I’ll also be able to announce the imminent Kickstarter campaign for the Limited-Edition Twentieth Anniversary Nearly-Complete ESSENTIAL STARCHILD book, for everyone who wants to see how the original story began. And with the last IMAGINARIUM GEOGRAPHICA book, THE FIRST DRAGON coming out in November 2013, next year will be an excellent year all across the board.

I signed the contracts two days ago, and my world changed. Now I’m going to return the favor. Happy Halloween, everyone. 😉


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