Book 5 Status

I regularly receive inquiries asking when the next–and final–installment of The Strongbow Saga will be coming out. It has been a while since I’ve given a detailed status update, so here it is.

My goal and plan has been to complete and publish the fifth and final book during 2016. That is still my hope and goal, but my progress is admittedly far behind where I’d thought to be at this point in time.

I suspect many readers wonder, “How can he take so damn long to write a book?” It’s a fair question, and one that deserves an answer. After all, many authors turn out, on average, a book per year, and some more than that. I have one author acquaintance who cranks out two or three books every year. They’re considerably shorter than my books, and they’re urban fantasy, written straight from her imagination, but she’s a talented author and they’re good books. Why can’t I do that? There are several reasons.

First of all, I live on a small farm. My wife, Jeanette, and I produce a large percentage of the food we consume each year. We have animals: a flock of chickens and a herd of sheep. All of that takes time–a lot of time–to tend to. Many times it’s not just time; we do quite hard physical labor. I’m not complaining–I love this life–but I’ll be 65 this year, plus I have Multiple Sclerosis, so often I simply don’t have the energy, after a long day’s labor, to write. The author I mentioned above just walks to her in-home office, sits down, and writes every day. She doesn’t have a farm to run.

Second, in addition to our farm, my wife and I run a small business–our publishing company that publishes my books–on the side. Every month I have to process our company’s royalty earnings, pay the company payroll, pay the state and federal taxes and prepare and submit the various reports required of a small business by the state and federal governments. All of that requires a considerable amount of time each and every month. And periodically there are other time consuming aspects of the business. In recent weeks, for example, a lot of my “writing” time has been taken up with preparing the German language edition of Dragons from the Sea for publication, in the various e-book and print formats it will be released in.

Last, book 5 is proving to be a hard one for me to write.There is a lot of research to do. Book 5 has two main locations: Russia and Ireland, and digging into what was happening in both of those, during the mid 9th century, takes a lot of work and time. Also, this book is the culmination of a long, continuing story that I have been working on for at least fifteen years. I want to get it right. I want the conclusion of Halfdan’s story to be a satisfying, moving finale to what has come before. I cannot rush it just to get something out there. To do so would dishonor myself, not respect Halfdan and his story, and be unfair to all who have been loyal fans of the Saga.

I am truly sorry for the delay. But the book will come when it comes. Until then, to steal a line from the Broadway musical Hamilton, I am afraid readers will just have to “Wait For It.”

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59 thoughts on “Book 5 Status

  1. I’ve been reading your books over and over since it takes a long time for the next book to come out, but I don’t blame you. I know you’re trying to finish HALFDAN’s story and I really want to know how it ends. That’s the problem when you wrote a very good book. It stays on the mind and you’re like picturing the characters as if they are alive. You’re also imagining the battles that’s happening in your books. I’m really hoping it will come out soon. But thanks so much for such a very detailed books that we can imagine how the VIKINGS live.

    Gina Castro

  2. I just finished reading the first four books which I really enjoyed. Thank you for such a great series! I can’t imagine the amount of work and research that goes into something like this. Look forward to reading the last one when it’s ready

  3. I’m disappointed the final book is taking this long! It was projected to come out in 2016, and now it is 7 months into 2017 and no news. If and when the final book does come out I will have to re-read the previous books to refresh the story.

    • Well actually, I did post an updated status on June 1st. Guess you overlooked it. And on the bright side, since this will be, when completed, a single continuing story, you’ll appreciate it best if you reread the other books.

      I’m sorry you’re disappointed and apparently annoyed, but this story has been a project I’ve been working on for close to 20 years now, and I intend to spend as much time as it takes to get the conclusion right. I do appreciate the many patient and supportive comments I get from other readers–some examples follow the June 1 post.

  4. Is it in the realm of possible to get a teaser or a update on the book, many of us would like to know if its even going to be finished.

  5. Mr. Roberts I am a spanish follower of this saga, and it has inspired me greatly to try my hand at wirting some stories of my own. I hope for the next dose of strongbow and viking action. And I wish to thank you and congratulate you at the same time for this fantastic saga. Best wishes