According to an interview with George R.R. Martin’s HarperCollins publisher Jane Johnson in The Guardian, there are currently no plans for his next “A Song of Ice and Fire” book, “The Winds of Winter,” to be released in 2015.
Before you start getting upset about what this means for “Game of Thrones” and whether the storylines will completely deviate from the source material (which, let’s face it, they already are), realize that this news doesn’t actually mean “Winds of Winter” won’t come out this year.
First of all, it’s only January. If Martin was on track to finish the novel in, say, July or October, of course no one is going to release that information to the world. He is a notoriously slow writer, but fans also are notoriously quick to jump on release date news and hold it as fact. He has said a number of times that fans will find out when he’s done with the book as soon as he is actually done, and no sooner. Martin isn’t done yet, so no official HarperCollins plans for the year.
Second, let’s look back to the “A Dance With Dragons” announcement. The hype for that book was on a large scale, probably larger than “Winds of Winter” even because it was set to resolve so many character cliffhangers. If you had asked HarperCollins if they had plans to release that book in 2011 in January, they probably would have said “no” then too. Instead the announcement was made in April with Martin confirming the book was completed several weeks later, and “Dance” was released on July 12.
Expect that turnaround time to be even quicker for “Winds.” Martin’s editor Anne Groell says she anticipates the editing process for the book to take her about a week when she gets the manuscript. So again, when “Winds of Winter” does get finished — and it will happen, promise — the time from announcement to release will probably be really, really fast (all things considered).
This is basically a long way of saying, “Stay positive, fans.” Because there is a desire not to give the audience false expectations of when “The Winds of Winter” will come out, it seems everyone involved is playing things very, very safe. But reputable people have said time and again that Martin is working really, really hard on getting this book done — his interview schedule for “The World of Ice and Fire” was even kept to a minimum so he could get back to writing sooner. There are many months until the winds of 2015’s winter blow, so keep hoping and rationalizing with us why the book will come out before then.
UPDATE: GRRM writes on his website that his book will not be scheduled until he has finished it. “I certainly hope that THE WINDS OF WINTER is not on the schedule of ANY of my publishers. I have spent years trying to persuade them all not to schedule my books until they are completed and delivered. Scheduling, and then having to reschedule and postpone, just pisses people off. I’d rather not schedule at all until the date is real and certain,” he says. “This flies against standard publishing practice, however, so it’s a battle that I do not always win.”