Recently I've been taking a break from The Black Dionysia in almost every sense. I haven't been editing it, promoting it on authonomy, or looking for agents to sell it. I think that, because the book has consumed and shaped my imagination for so long, it's been good to get away from it for a while. Also, because my recent work on it has been polishing and promoting rather than pure creating, I've begun to require a new outlet for my creativity. As a result, I've been doing some sketching and research on a new book. As with The Black Dionysia, this one will in many ways be a tribute to some of my favorite authors, including Jorge Borges, Italo Calvino, and A.S. Byatt. It will also make similar reference to classic mythology and poetry. Whereas The Black Dionysia was particularly concerned with the Iliad, this new project will turn to Homer's Odyssey. Finally, as I've recently read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, certain elements of that story are fresh in my mind and breeding enchantment.
One strength I found in Susanna Clarke's writing was her effective creation of historical atmosphere. I always wanted The Black Dionysia to float free of time - to feel like its world was in a compartment (or cupboard) adrift on magic. But I think this new book will begin in a definite time - the Age of Discovery.