Instead of the contracted for Newford Collection, Charles de Lint is now working on a short novel — due in January — about fan favorite character, Jilly. Fans can head over to Subterranean Press to read an open note de Lint wrote to his readers explaining how this all came about. And in the meantime, hereâ€™s a short description of Jilly: The Early Years (working title):
Charles de Lint: “After Widdershins, I thought I wouldnâ€™t write at length about Jilly again. Iâ€™d promised one more short story about her for Bill at Subterranean Press, but that would be it. Having left her in a good place at the end of Widdershins, I didnâ€™t want to complicate her life yet again, so I planned to set the story earlier in her life, during her first year as a student at Butler University.
“Except the story grew. I was having too much fun visiting with this younger Jilly, so I asked Bill if I could expand it and swap it for the â€œbest of Newfordâ€ collection that heâ€™d contracted with me. He agreed, so now Iâ€™m busily working away on this as-yet-untitled novella.
“It takes place in 1972 and begins with Jilly getting a surprise visit from an old friend — her only friend — from her runaway days. Interspersed with the main story that leads off from that meeting are flashbacks to pivotal moments in her life: time spent in the Home for Wayward Girls, her life on the street, meeting and working with the Grasso Street Angel, the first time she meets various familiar faces (Geordie, Sophie, etc.), and chronicles how the messed-up street kid she was grew a social conscience, and became the cheerful character we know from later stories.
“Although the book does deal with some serious subjects, the tone isnâ€™t all doom and gloom. And while I hope that those of you familiar with these characters will enjoy this visit with their younger selves, Iâ€™m also trying to make it a friendly entry into Newford for new readers.”
Subterranean was expecting The Newford Collection to be a massive book, (750+ pages) and priced it accordingly, at $45. To make it up to those whoâ€™ve paid the higher price, everyone who preordered Newford will also receive a 20,000 word chapbook of uncollected de Lint stories, Riding Shotgun, for which de Lint has done the cover himself.
To learn more: Jilly: The Early Years