The Live Chat with Garth Nix is taking place as I type this, and I got permission from Garth to share the following with you.
Lady Friday (the next book in the "Keys to the Kingdom" series) will be published simultaneously in the UK/US/Australia, in either March or April 2007.
Garth shared this anecdote of how he got the idea for Shade's Children:
SHADE'S CHILDREN began because the house I was living in at the time suddenly shook one morning and eventually it transpired there was a railway tunnel underneath it that was hardly ever used. I went and found where the tunnel came out about a kilometre away and while I was staring into the darkness, I realised that I couldn't hear any of the usual city noises: no cars, no aircraft overhead, no people. That made me think "What if almost everybody vanished instantly, leaving just a few people behind?" That was the start of what would become SHADE'S CHILDREN . . .
He was asked by a couple of people, including me, whether he will continue the Old Kingdom books and where the inspiration for the series came from:
Maybe. I have notes for two novels that occur in the Old Kingdom/Ancelstierre. One is about Chlorr of the Mask, the other set about 5 years after ABHORSEN.
There were many inspirations for the OLD KINGDOM books. Lots and lots of ideas, many of which didn't even make it into the novels. But I can pinpoint one catalyst for one of the ideas. I saw a photo of Hadrian's Wall that had a green field on the southern side and snowy hills on the other. It looked like one side was summer and the other winter, and that's where the Wall and the division of Ancelstierre from the Old Kingdom came from.
And several people asked about the names, particularly in the Old Kingdom series and he said:
I spend a lot of time on names. Basically I combine elements to get something that looks and sounds right. So I make long lists playing with bits and pieces of words and sounds until I get one that evokes what I want it to. I sit at my desk saying them aloud, which is probably better than walking around mumbling them and making people worry.
'Sabriel' for instance grew out of my playing about with the heraldic term for black, which is 'sable' and the '-iel' and '-ael' endings as in angel's (Hebrew) names. I was looking for something dark and powerful and this seemed to work.
'Abhorsen' on the other hand I stole from Shakespeare. I was looking for the names of executioners in various old literature and 'Abhorson' is an executioner in 'Measure for Measure'. It sounded right so just as Shakespeare used to do from older writers, I nicked it from him and just slightly changed the spelling.
Garth was at the World Science Fiction Convention in LA, but he was able to spend almost 2 hours taking questions from eager fans worldwide (we had questions from Brits, Americans, Australians and a lady in Israel). If you want to see the whole conversation, it can be viewed (without registration) on the SFX Forum.