the Author

The Emperor’s Wolves first chapter

Posted in writing.

Because The Emper­or’s Wolves comes out in October, and it’s September now, which means it’s time for the preview chapter.

The Emperor's WolvesSo, this week instead of a short story, I’m posting the first chapter. You can find it on the book page, linked above, or here. (The book page has current audio pre-order links; I assume that the audio­book will be sold on iTunes, but the preorder for that hadn’t gone live yet.)

Because I’m Michelle, there’s a very thin divide between being excited and being anxious. This is, sadly, normal for me, as people who have had to live with me would be happy to attest, although possibly happier at a safe distance which is harder to attain during these times of minimal excur­sion from the house.


Cast in Conflict has gone to the editor, but has not returned for revi­sion. The first book of The Burning Crown has been revised — again T_T — and is not finished, but I’m working on it. I was so hoping it would come in at 200k words, but… that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. My inten­tion was to write from a certain view­point, and stick to the events. This pretty much blew up in my face – which will prob­ably surprise no one who reads the West novels.

27 Responses to The Emperor’s Wolves first chapter

  1. Carrie Hamilton says:

    Do you actu­ally know anyone who isn’t simul­ta­ne­ously excited and anxious before a new work of appears? I don’t! You belong to a distin­guished “club”! Re. the West novels, I seem to enjoy what results from your “explo­sions”, so kudos. LOL!?!?!

  2. Carrie Hamilton says:

    Forgot to say thanks for the link. Can’t wait for the book. It’s been a bumpy start to the semester (thanks, tech­nology!) so I’m a bit scatterbrained.

  3. Michalina says:

    My first thought this morning, which was in my country like 8 hours ago, was like:” I wonder when the first chapter of the Emperor Wolves will be post, I can barely wait for this book”. And there it is, and it’s wonder­full and omg the Barrani wolf/ tutor? It’s like i’m dead and in heaven. Thank you for posting this.

  4. michelle says:

    @Carrie: This happens often. My plot and char­ac­ters are lining up; they’re going where I think they should be going. And then a char­acter reminds me that I have utterly failed to consider their concerns care­fully enough – and they’re certainly going to…

    But char­ac­ters *are* plot, to me. The plot evolves because of the char­ac­ters in it. So when a char­acter makes clear that I avoided certain elements of import to them, I listen – and write – that. It’s just not where I thought the book would go, if that makes sense? The major events are the gener­ally the same, but not always – some­times they move out of view and become entirely other. The endings, however, don’t usually change. Just the tone of the endings.

    This happened in CONFLICT as well, but I’ll save talking about that until the book is actu­ally available.

  5. michelle says:

    @Michalina: I started yesterday — but it’s a bunch of fiddly little things that in theory shouldn’t take time, but in prac­tice always do. But I’m glad it coin­cided with your morning thought :)

  6. Hanneke says:

    Intriguing start to the new book!

  7. Starr Perry says:

    Can’t wait for Seven’s story, it will be a fasci­nating read and the perfect October birthday gift! All your books are worth the wait, and this will be also. I don’t know any artists that aren’t excited as well as appre­hen­sive when one of their new works comes out and we are all out here rotting for you, it will be wonderful!

  8. starr perry says:

    Oops, rooting for you. Fingers aren’t keeping up with my typing and spellcheck, apologies 🙄

  9. michelle says:

    @starr: I have been mistyping every­thing all day — I swear I have more typos than words in some sentences T_T. I can’t there­fore ding *anyone* else for typos!

  10. Tsnor says:

    Looking forward to The Emperor’s Wolves, It’ll be fun to see how I need to change the world view formed through the Cast novel POV. Very glad you deliver Print Length : 434 pages. Really looking forward to The Burning Crown. Stay safe. Keep writing. And take a victory lap for the House Wars novels.

  11. Mook says:

    Omg!!!!! It was such a good chapter!!! I must admit my brain is obnox­iously anti Severn so I had mixed feel­ings about this — but of course I was silly to doubt you — I am so psyched to read this!!! So many new books in editing or close to finishing draft stage — so happy!!! :)))

  12. Zia says:

    Absolutely loved the first chapter — I’m really looking forward to the book. It’s coming out right at the end of my time off from a surgery which means I might sadly be headed back to work at just the wrong time. But since yesterday was freezing and snowy, it was the perfect day for a sneak peak chapter and to start reread some/all of your series again.

    Looking forward to all the upcoming books though! Thank you for posting the first chapter and for writing the many books I contin­u­ously enjoy!

  13. El(l)uvian — is that a shoutout to the Dragon Age games? Weee XD
    What an intriguing view­point and first chapter ^^

  14. Stephen P Engel says:

    Thank you! You are consis­tently good, the best. Your char­ac­ters are why I love your stories. I look forward to your creations. :)

  15. michelle says:

    @Estara: No, sadly =/. I do game – but not with any impres­sive compe­tence, and at the moment, it’s the odd Diablo 3 session. I’ve heard good things about Dragon Age, though.

    @Stephen: Thank you <3.

    @Mook: I honestly wasn’t certain if the people who don’t like Severn would want to read this book, so thanks for that :)

  16. Mook says:

    @Michelle, hahaha I totally would read anything you write but just would wist­fully beg for more airtime for other char­ac­ters right after! I think my meh for Severn has a lot to do with Kaylin’s view of him — I think to her, he’s like the air she breathes — just a fact of her life — so she doesn’t ponder his moti­va­tions as much as she does other char­ac­ters. So defi­nitely I’m looking forward to forming my own unfil­tered view of him :).… but with a lot more excite­ment now!!! Wolves!!!

  17. Mary Allen says:

    Thank you, Thank you. Loved the first chapter but have always been a Severn fan. Ordered Emper­or’s Wolves on B & N and advised would take up to 6 extra days for mail delivery so may get nook copy the day it comes out. In this time of covid borrowed Cast in Decep­tion on audio. I prefer to read but enjoyed finding out correct pronun­ci­a­tion of names. Sight reader not phonetic reader so was inter­esting to discover which names I was miss pronouncing. I am thrilled you are going to write more Severn books.

  18. Joey Shoji says:

    I keep reading the title as THE EMPEROR’S NEW WOLVES …

  19. michelle says:

    @Joey… thank you *so much* for that thought. It’s like the reader equiv­a­lent of an ear worm -.-

  20. Sivi says:

    Really liked that first chapter, can’t wait to read the book in October. It will be fasci­nating to see how the wolves and hawks differ

  21. Jeanine says:

    Preordered way back when. I liked Severn and the way he inter­acted with Kaylin at the begin­ning of the series. He’s taken a bit of a back­seat as the series has progressed and the cast of char­ac­ters has gotten longer. So I’m looking forward to learning more about Severn.

  22. michelle says:

    @Jeanine: I’m still thinking about what Mook said about Severn and Kaylin. Because it’s true: Severn is on some funda­mental level just accepted as is; Kaylin doesn’t ques­tion him. It wasn’t some­thing I’d consciously consid­ered before.

  23. Jeanine says:

    Responding to what you and Mook said, I think it seemed as if Kaylin and Severn’s rela­tion­ship (what­ever that is, is it romantic, is it best buds, or what?) was growing or progressing in the begin­ning of the series but appeared to hit a plateau as the series went on. But maybe that was because they’re in a good and stable place now and, as you say, Kaylin just accepts Severn as is (or is Mook right and she’s taking him too much for granted??? Hmm!), or because Kaylin has been dealing with other more imme­diate demands and other more demanding char­ac­ters so their rela­tion­ship has been on the back­burner, or because Severn’s an inte­gral part of Kaylin’s everyday life that’s happening off screen and we just don’t see that because we only see Kaylin in crisis mode. Or all of the above. 

    Kaylin started out distrustful and resentful, as who wouldn’t, given that child­hood, and the maturing of her rela­tion­ship with Severn was a part of Kaylin achieving some perspec­tive and some matu­rity overall. I feel like Severn was more of a main char­acter in the begin­ning and there was an intriguing story and rela­tion­ship devel­oping based on where they came from and where they were headed next, but he really does seem more of a secondary char­acter at the moment. However, I don’t find Severn meh overall, and I’d defi­nitely be inter­ested to see more inter­ac­tion between them In the main Kaylin story. That being said, it’s your world and I’ll follow Kaylin (and Severn?) anywhere you choose to send her (them)! But I do welcome the oppor­tu­nity to learn more about Severn in the Emper­or’s Wolves! Thanks again, and please forgive me blath­ering on…

  24. Mook says:

    Hey Jeanine and Michelle, can I just say how much I love this nerdy close read of the text and discus­sion of char­acter moti­va­tions?!!! Having so much fun reading the responses!!!

    I wanted to clarify that I don’t take Kaylin’s atti­tude or thought process as meaning she doesn’t deserve him or takes him too much for granted!!! Imagine it as … a little kid with their dad or big brother — he has been in her life for as long as she can remember — and when things are solid, there are no outstanding issues like a little murder and we have trust, as little kids, we never think about inter­preting our family’s moti­va­tions or even whether our family has other hobbies, inter­ests and desires outside of us. Or think of it like the Sun — it’s an impor­tant part of my life but I don’t think about it — it’s just there every waking moment of my life and I trust it to be there :) 

    With Teela as well, Kaylin’s atti­tude has been similar and it has only evolved over time as Kaylin is forcibly intro­duced to other aspects of Tesla’s life and other people who see Teela differ­ently. In fact, I see one impor­tant aspect in all of the books is that they mark mile­stones in Kaylin’s growing up and teach her to see the world, the people around her, and herself differently. 

    Severn is her oxygen, her side­kick, her North Star — at some point she will have to evolve her view about him — but so far patient Severn and events haven’t much forced it (beyond certain books which reveal myste­rious things about him). And Kaylin is funda­men­tally lazy and incu­rious (in the nicest way — I love her but she doesn’t do drama or analysis unlike me hah :)) — so she’s not going to ques­tion anything until a giant clue bops her in the nose.

    As readers, we follow along Kaylin’s path and we see the world through her eyes but then make our own inter­pre­ta­tions and extrap­o­la­tions about what the 3‑dimensional char­acter of Night­shade or the Hawk­lord or Severn would be like.… so getting to see Severn — one of the most diffi­cult main char­ac­ters to get clues and glimpses of — from a completely different angle is some­thing that’s truly exciting :)))))

  25. Axisor says:

    What Mook said!

  26. michelle says:

    @Mook & Jeanine: thank you both. I did not take the response to Severn as a crit­i­cism, just some­thing for me to think more about. Kaylin assesses the unknown in part because it might be a threat to her in some fashion, in part because she doesn’t want to acci­den­tally offend people she actu­ally likes. She knows what pushes Teela’s temper buttons; she under­stands what will set Bellusdeo off. She assumes the Emperor is gener­ally always angry, with notable exceptions.

    Severn is not a cipher – to Kaylin. But it’s true that she doesn’t think often about what will upset him or what will anger him; she’s shocked at times by what has or does. Like, the time he tried to use her True Name to pull her back by main force in HONOR.

    She under­stood that it was the equiv­a­lent of grab­bing her by the arm and pulling her away from danger; she wasn’t upset about it. She *was* upset when he avoided her for weeks afterward.

    *He* doesn’t view them as the same thing. He tried to use what she gave him to *control her* – because he was afraid for her. Because she wouldn’t listen.

    To Severn, it was step­ping over a line that must never, ever be crossed. To Kaylin… it was Severn, and she under­stood the intent; she didn’t think of it as an effort to control her. 

    Mostly, she was upset because he was angry at himself and there­fore avoided her, and she wasn’t angry.

    But… yes, there’s not a lot that’s similar. I think, on some level, she knows he would never harm her; his temper or his anger would never lead to her isola­tion. So he doesn’t require the same thought as other people. 

    Clearly, I’m still mulling this over :).

  27. C Kemper says:

    I am listening to the audio book for the Severn book right now and have run into some name prob­lems — as I can’t remember who a few people who keep getting mentioned are, although in pretty sure they were impor­tant but not central players in the previous books.

    I’ve “read” almost all of the series via audio, so I can’t go back and look up names or other info very easily. Is there a complete list of char­ac­ters some­where? Or is there somewhere/someone I can ask?


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