There is not a moment for breath between the ending of The Queen's Gambit and the beginning of The Ruby Prince. The final chapter in Gambit and the first chapter in Prince are simply two pieces of the same scene. You hit the ground running. Eleanor has managed to win the game, for now. But what happens to the pieces swept off the chess board?
Welcome to The Ruby Prince.
My writing process is immersive. I feel like I'm splitting dimensions, knowing I have a life here, but following the characters into other places as solid beneath my feet as anything. I remember a particular day. I was writing the part of the story where The Ruby Prince begins. My husband came home late from work only to be dragged outside for a walk, for I needed to anchor myself. My heart was racing, I could feel a current running through me, and it was time to pull myself home before I tipped too far into that world.
But the I remained there for a bit longer, inside that tent, watching, listening. And as Kip and I were walking in the warmth of the summer evening, I turned to him and said, "One of my characters just said, 'Irony is the province of every culture, not just of one's own.'"
"That's great," Kip replied. "What is happening in the scene?"
"I can't tell you."
Kip glanced at me with a half-smile, then looked away. "Okay. I'll wait."
And over the following months I traveled to Zarbadast and became sort of resident there. Readers have told me that they, too, got lost in the allure of that city. For many, it has become a favorite part. I'm curious to see how the journey will be for you. But take care upon entering that hauntingly beautiful place. Keep your eyes open, and your step quiet. To be caught unaware never bodes well in Zarbadast.
And so week two of Beth's Summer Book Club begins.
You can pick up The Ruby Prince here.