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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89 thoughts on “Book 5 Status

  1. Dear Mr. Roberts, I am living in Austria/Europe, my native language is German. I bought the Strongbow-Saga, vol. 1 – 3 in German language, but was eager to read vol. 4, so I was reading it in English language, it was easy, I could easily translate it into German language too! But now I am waiting for the end of the story, please hurry up! I learned from your website, written in 2016, about your life and I am concerned about your sickness, MS. I hope that you can stop it, I know there are medicines which make this possible.
    Please let me know when vol. 5 will be available, I will buy it also in English language!
    I love the story so much!
    Wyrd bið ful aræd!
    Kind regards, your fan
    Astrid Kohlfuerst

  2. I would like to start with I LOVE your books. I am a member of the SCA and at one of our camping events our children wanted me you tell them a story around the campfire one night… well having just finished Viking Warrior I decided to recount Halfadan’s tale… It was a total hit… so much that the following year they wanted me to continue the story… needless to say I have gone through all the books, and even as teenagers (we all know how hard it is to keep there attention) they all put away there cellphones and gather around the fire to listen… and more than a few have bought your books… Thank you Very much for such a wonderful story… we can’t wait to see how it will end.

    • Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. You must be quite a skilled storyteller yourself, to be able to turn a novel into an oral fireside tale. Maybe you were a skald in an earlier life. 🙂