HUNTRESS in the flesh (so to speak)

Guess what came in the mail on Friday?

I unwrapped it to discover this:

Advance copies of Huntress! ((The book's official release date is April 5, 2011, in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and assorted other English-speaking territories except the UK, where it will come out in May.))

When I first held it in my hands I had such mixed feelings. You're probably thinking: What? What do you mean? Isn't it awesome that Huntress — this book you've slaved over, which tortured you by making you rewrite one damn (unnamed because it's a big spoiler) scene for an entire month — aren't you overjoyed that the product of your labor now exists in real, three-dimensional form?

Well, yes. I am very happy about that. It is a fabulous thing! But at the same time, as I looked through the book, I realized this meant that Huntress is really no longer mine. Soon it will be shipping to bookstores, and many other people will be able to touch it read it, and they will form their own experiences with it.

Before a book comes out, it's kind of like having a wonderful little secret all to yourself. (OK, and with my agent and editor. We keep secrets together.) But once it's out there, it's no longer mine. It could be yours.

So before you decide whether you want to spend some quality time with Huntress, let's take a little looksie, shall we?

What a nice spine. Such sparkly silver lettering!

Some lovely interior design elements. (Incidentally, while I was looking through the book I realized I start an inordinate number of chapters with the letter T. I wish I had made a point of using every letter of the alphabet!)

But my favorite part of the interior?

Yes, that is a MAP of the Kingdom, printed in gorgeous purply ink on the endpapers of the book! The map is illustrated by Dave Stevenson, and the whole book was designed by Alison Impey.

I'm totally fine with ebooks (yes, please buy them!), but at the same time: This is why I love real, three-dimensional books.

Welcome to the world, Huntress!