I started writing the Vidar Saga trilogy in February 1981. Of course, I didn’t know at the time that it would be a trilogy. All I knew was that I had to write, and more specifically that I had to write this. The prospect of its getting published, whether as a standalone novel or as—unimaginably—something even more, was only a half-formed thing in my mind. I knew I had never published any fiction before. I knew the odds weren’t in my favor. But I had to write.
Evening and weekends, I plugged away, often in the unlikeliest of places. Finally, more than two years later, the product of my labors wound up on the desk of an editor at Warner Books, who—miraculously, from my point of view—bought it. Not a trilogy but a single book, The Hammer and The Horn.
I walked the few short blocks from my office to the subway as if I owned New York City. I looked up at the skyscrapers and none of them was as tall as my joy and wonder and satisfaction. I was going to be a published author.
A week later, I had lunch at a nice Italian restaurant with my editor and my agent. My agent, being good at what she did, asked my editor when she would like the sequel. The sequel, as if it had already been agreed on. My editor said, “How about October?” It was already April. It had taken me more than two years to write the first book—how could I contemplate writing the second one in six months? I almost choked on my linguini.
My agent said, “October. Sure.”
To make that deadline, I had to cannibalize my job as a minor editor at a business magazine publishing house. Instead of doing the work I was getting paid for, I worked on the sequel to The Hammer and The Horn. Eventually, my boss came to me and said, “Mike, not for nothing, but you haven’t actually done any work here for a while now. I think we’re going to have to—”
It wouldn’t have been fair to make him fire me. I quit. It was all right. It gave me more time to finish The Seekers and The Sword, and a year or so later The Fortress and The Fire. (I was big on alliteration in those days.)
When you order The Hammer and The Horn, which will be available on both Kindle and Nook in a few weeks and as a physical book soon thereafter, what you will hold in your hands is substantially the same thing you would have owned if you had purchased the Vidar Saga back in the mid-80s. The cover is new, of course. And I took out a couple of time references, cleaned up the passage where I left out the fourth hall of Asgard (an oversight my friend Seth still needles me about), and adjusted a bit of the the grammar (which shouldn’t have gotten outdated in thirty years, but somehow did). But for the most part, it’s the same.
I’ve written sixty-six books since I finished the Vidar Saga in 1987. Still, it’s an essential part of me. I love it like an old friend, one I haven’t seen for thirty years.
I hope you love it too.