News, 7-19-12: Jao Empire series

A number of people have asked me if I’ll be continuing the Jao Empire series I’ve been doing with Kathy Wentworth, now that Kathy has passed away. (She died in April from complications following cancer surgery.) The first two books in that series were THE COURSE OF EMPIRE and THE CRUCIBLE OF EMPIRE. Kathy and I had started a third book in the series, with the working title of THE SPAN OF EMPIRE. She wrote the first two chapters and sent them to me last summer. I rewrote the chapters, added a third chapter, and sent them back to her along with a further development of the plot outline (which by now comes to about 6000 words and isn’t finished). I told Kathy to set aside three more chapters for me to finish the battle scene I started in Chapter 3. She then wrote two more chapters (7 and 8, leaving aside chapters 4-6 for me) and had started on Chapter 9 when she broke off due to her illness.

And that’s where things stand in terms of the manuscript. Contractually, the situation is complicated because Kathy and I didn’t yet have a contract for SPAN OF EMPIRE but we did have a very old contract for a novel called COLDFIRE. That was a story Kathy started many years ago and then got stalled on. I agreed to finish it with her and we got a contract from Baen. That story is really Kathy’s, though, not mine, and it’s not something I want to try to finish on my own. I do, however, want to finish SPAN OF EMPIRE.

So… I’ve been discussing the situation both with Kathy’s husband, who controls her estate, as well as Baen Books. I think we’ll be able to work something out to everyone’s satisfaction so that work can resume on THE SPAN OF EMPIRE. As soon as anything gels, I’ll post it here.

About Eric Flint

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24 Responses to News, 7-19-12: Jao Empire series

  1. Mike says:

    I didn’t know that she had died. Very sorry to hear that. I thought she had a very special talent for writing believable aliens who truly were alien.

    No offense to you, Eric, but it will be very hard to replace her voice in a series that was all about overcoming the communication and cultural barriers between alien species.

  2. KenE says:

    K. D. Wentworth will surely be missed. I am very pleased to hear that one of my favorite series may be continued.

    • RichardR says:

      I too will be happy for a third (and final?) in this series. I have found the first one the type I just can’t put down( a rare thing nowadays). Always wonderful to find an author that has the true gift of story telling.

  3. Janusi says:

    I hadn’t heard she had passed away, or that she was sick.
    The Jao Empire series is one of my favorites, and it won’t be the same without her.

    Still, I look forward to the third book.

  4. Jeff Gault says:

    Condolences on the loss of a friend and colleague. The series won’t be the same without her, but I selfishly hope it will continue.

  5. mike says:

    The Jao are an interesting set of alien characters. Enjoyed both books and look forward to book 3.

  6. Anthony says:

    Sorry to hear that she passed away. The Jao series is a masterpiece and I have reread it many, many times.

    I’m glad to see that it will continue, though. The story is so not done (and the Erkhat might be one of the greatest villains that has been written in books).

  7. Morgan says:

    I have truly enjoyed the Empire books. It is a shame to hear that Mrs. Wentworth passed away. She was very talented. I hope that any remaining issues concerning Span of Empire can be resolved, and that the series will move forward!

  8. Santanu Bose says:

    Really sorry to hear about Kathy Wentworth, my condolences to her family, she was a brilliant author , will be missed.
    I have been a fan of you both and do hope you will continue the Jao Empire novels, they are great and hope for more than 3 novels.

  9. cka2nd says:

    I second the previous comments, both regarding Ms. Wentworth’s passing and the quality of the Jao series. I look forward to its completion and hope that Mr. Wentworth and Baen can find the right author to finish Coldfire.

  10. Scott says:

    I just finished The Course of Empire and The Crucible of Empire… I liked both very much…
    Is there any update about the possibility of finishing the third book, The Span of Empire?
    It’s very sad to hear that Kathy passed away… but I think it would truly be a shame if her final work were left uncompleted.
    I’m now going to go buy the rest of her books that are available!

  11. Marc Epstein says:

    I am also saddened to hear of Kathy passing away. I am reading Crucible of Empire right now. Great book so far. I just finished the Course of Empire yesterday. Also a great book. I was wondering, are there any pictures or sketches of what the Joa look like?
    I hope that Span of Empire is completed. It will probably be just as great as the first two books.

    Be well.

    • David Carrico says:

      No pictures or sketches I’m aware of. Eric’s original concept was that the Jao are seal-like, although we don’t get enough descriptive detail in the first two books to say that for sure. Personally, I tend to think of them as being more like giant otters.

      • Terry says:

        Hi;8I&217#ve popped over from Sean’s blog (Simple Elegant Delicious) and he’s right – you have a fantastic blog! I’m off to read more. Love this recipe by the way.

  12. David Carrico says:

    I see the news hasn’t made it around to this chain of comments yet. Yes, the third Jao novel is being worked on. Eric (and Baen) graciously allowed me to take Kathy Wentworth’s place in completing Span of Empire. Progress is being made–the first draft is about 50% done at this point in time.

  13. Drew says:

    Just checking in on Span of Empire. Any new updates?

  14. Jeff Hausmann says:

    So saddened to hear about Kathy Wentworth.
    I loved the first two books, also. Really hoping that the third one will really happen. The first two were wonderful.

  15. Patsy says:

    Was reading a nature post about SEA LIONS in the Salish Sea, with OD’s usual great photos of the really big, golden guys recovering from mating season in his waters (see http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/19/1330715/-The-Daily-Bucket-sea-lion-winter-refuge ), which of course immediately made me think of the Jao! I had heard of KD’s passing, but am ABSOLUTELY thrilled to find that someone has been found to do the 3d volume! My husband piped up with, “I’ve been thinking of a battle with the [crazy-spiders] with the Jao and human forces boomng/roaring out “Men of Harlech” — see how the Melody likes THAT!” Will be putting SPAN OF EMPIRE on my list of “titles to watch for!”

  16. David Carrico says:

    Just an update: The Span of Empire is finished and was turned in to Baen on Sept 29. We have no idea at this point as to when it will be published. The earliest it would probably appear would be third quarter 2015, possibly as late as first or second quarter 2016.

  17. Santanu Bose says:

    I am very glad David Carrico , is joining you as a co-author for the Jao series and do hope the series continues to more than 3 books.
    As a big fan of your books and specially of this series i hope Baen publishings , start putting the latest Jao series book to print as soon as possible.

  18. Happy says:

    So what, does Viacom plan to sue everyone that viewed any of their owned material? Didn't this happen to Napster when it was providing free mp3s and later got shut down? Sure the music industry may have won in shutting down Napster. But they failed when other P2P programs exploded in popularity and co;3ln&#d9ut control or catch the millions of people using P2P or bittorrents. So if YouTube does fall, many others will rise to take its place. But this time they wont be owned by a multi billion dollar company.

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