Difficult News: Discontinuing the Theonite Series

The following letter was copied from my most recent email to my mailing list, since I couldn’t bring myself to rephrase it all in a blog post.

My Dearest Readers,

This is not a normal newsletter.

This is an announcement and a letter of apology.

And god, this was hard. Honestly, this felt like writing an email about how someone had died (don’t worry, no one has. I’m just being a drama queen). Anyway…

If you’ve been following this newsletter over the past year, you know that since The Sword of Kaigen came out, I’ve struggled to write the third Theonite book, kicked around half a dozen spin-off ideas, and struggled more. During my most recent boom of productivity (ironically, on Theonite 3), I came to an important realization about the Theonite universe. Namely, that it isn’t working.

I may have had fun (so much fun!) working on my various spin-offs this year, even nearly finishing some, but fun doesn’t constitute a cohesive universe. Between the size of Theonite’s cast, the breadth of its world, and the complexity of some of its content, I’m just not ready to pull it all together. Not at my current skill level. And continuously trying to spin-off from a story that itself isn’t working is not a good strategy. So, even though this breaks my heart…

I’m putting a freeze on the Theonite series and all its spin-offs, including Flameless, Jamuttaana, and Rage and Whisper.

To everyone who’s followed the Theonite books up to this point, I’m so sorry I’m not able to deliver more at this point, and I’m especially sorry for insisting for so long that more books were coming.

I was telling you what I thought was the truth.

When I published Theonite: Planet Adyn in 2016, I didn’t think for a moment that I was starting a series that I couldn’t finish. This was due partly to a lack of experience and partly to the fact that I had finished versions of the series back when I was a teenager. But my writing has changed so much since then that those drafts are no longer usable and I’ve realized that, as an adult writer, I lack the skills to make the series what it should be.

If I had more books to give you that were up to the standard you deserve, I would release them. Unfortunately, I just haven’t been able to wrangle the series into something worth publishing at this moment in time. I say at this moment in time because I’m still in my twenties, which makes me a baby in author years. Theonite is something I’ve been working on since I was twelve and will, I think, continue to work on for the rest of my life simply out of habit.

Just because it isn’t ready now doesn’t mean it never will be.

This isn’t the end of Theonite.

It just isn’t the right time for it.

I’m going keep working on this world in the background of my other projects until such time—maybe three years from now, maybe thirty—that the books are in shape for publication.

Thank you all so much for your support of the series. The fact that my first outing as an author received support at all means more than I can tell you.

I wish I could have delivered in kind.

So, what’s happening to the books I’ve already published?

Honestly, not much.

The Sword of Kaigen, being a standalone (and, incidentally, my main source of income), will remain for sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback form as normal. Not going anywhere. Not touching it. Don’t worry.

I’m unsure if I want to take Theonite: Planet Adyn and Theonite: Orbit off Amazon or leave them with a note saying that the series has been discontinued for now. I’m open to suggestions. Regardless, if anyone wants a PDF of one or both books for their personal files, let me know and I’ll email them to you.

And what am I working on now?

Well, like four things. That seems to be a theme these days.

But here’s the fun part: you get to help me decide what I push to the top of the agenda and publish next!

I’ve thrown together a survey so you can let me know what you’d like me to focus on moving forward. I’m in a rare state of limbo right now, uncommitted, so this is your chance to nudge me one way or another.

One last time, I want to apologize to anyone I’ve disappointed with this announcement.

I hope you put your thoughts in the survey above and I’ll see you at the end of December with an update on where we’re headed next!

Subscribe to my newsletter for updates on all projects

11 thoughts on “Difficult News: Discontinuing the Theonite Series”

  1. It will be sad! Your standalone adult fantasy books is one of my most anticipated books, it’s up there with Stormlight #4. No kidding.

    BUT, if you don’t feel that it’s working, then definitely follow your instincts! Whatever you decide to create next, I’ll read it! Best of luck! You know you always have my support! 🙂

    1. Petrik, it means so much to hear you say that. Honestly, I think my non-Theonite projects will be more up your alley than any of the spin-offs I had planned. I just wish I could get them written as fast as Sanderson!

  2. It’s interesting that you made this announcement. I was watching an author’s livestream on Instagram and she mentioned that “if a story isn’t ready to be written, then wait until it is ready.” I planned out a fantasy series years ago, but I couldn’t manage to write a story. Now, it’s ready to be written.

    And, it’s okay to take a break, especially if you need one. Both Philip DeFranco and PewDePie are taking breaks so they don’t suffer burnout. You’ve had a busy year. Don’t worry, we’ll keep ourselves occupied with other reads (I still have to start reading your current “Theonite” books)!

    We’ll be waiting, patiently, for as long as it takes.

    1. Thanks for sharing that. I think every creative person starts projects they can’t finish. In my case, it’s not so much burnout as my goals and writing style changing so much that I’m struggling to find direction with what is now a very old project. Much as I hate to cancel a project partway through, I think it would be worse to drag readers through a malformed story with confused plotting and themes.

  3. Do what you need to do. While I completely understand not wanting to disappoint fans, always remember that you’re a person FIRST and an author second. If something isn’t working for you, it is 100% your prerogative to set it aside and work on something else that inspires and motivates you!

    1. Thank you for saying that, Deck! I still feel professionally and emotionally terrible about canceling a series midway through. But the upside is that I now have a much better idea of what a manageable project looks like for me, so I won’t have to do this to readers (or myself) again.

      I may try out what you’ve done with your Varkas Chronicles and Riven Realm books and go in threes 🙂

  4. I really really liked Sword of Kaigen and so read the other two Theonite books because of it but didn’t connect with them, they felt immature and scattered in comparison. Good luck with your new projects.

  5. Well, I loved the first two books, so this is a heartbreaking news for me. But I know that however bad I feel about this, you must be feeling worse. So if you feel that you won’t be able to complete this series right now, you should take a break. I hope that at some point in the future, you would be able to come back and complete this series. Good luck.
    P.s.- How books were you planning to write in theonite series?

  6. Oh no, this makes me sad. I just finished Theonite book 2 and immediately looked online for details about book 3. I hope you manage to work everything out. Take the time that you need. Remember that you are a truly talented author and that I will be glad to check out whatever you create, whether it’s a continuation of the Theonite series or something completely unrelated.

  7. Art is appreciated for being great, not for meeting a deadline. You’re not letting anyone down by refusing to release mediocrity. Take as much time as you need to create the works deserving of your name.

Leave a Reply