Tuesday, February 7th, 2012


I get a lot of mail from readers. I read as much of it as I can, and I answer as much as I can, but I never get to it all. Neal Stephenson is eloquent on the subject of why he can’t answer mail. I have the same problem. Except not as eloquently.

There ought to be something like a square-cube law of writing, whereby after an author writes a certain amount of words, the amount of mail those words generates makes writing more words impossible … well, maybe there oughtn’t.

At any rate, in lieu of dealing with my mail the way I’d like to, I’ll answer some FAQ’s here. If you click through there’s a treat at the end, courtesy of Christopher Shy.

Will there be another Magicians book?

Yes. Working title: The Magician’s Land.


The Magician King came out exactly two years after The Magicians. I’m hoping to stick to that pace. I have a very detailed outline of the new book, and I’ve written the first few chapters.

Will Alice come back?

I could tell you, but it’s really better if I don’t.

Will that be the last book? Is this a trilogy?


Will you come speak/read/sign at my convention/conference/school/cosmogenesis/etc.?

Maybe! If I can. I like making public appearances when I can fit them in. Give me details. I have a lot of events scheduled this year already, none of which appear on the Events page of this site yet, because my fingers are weak and tired.

How did you get published in the first place?

Really slowly.

Will you read my manuscript?

I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to. But reading and writing things is what I do for a living. I spend all my waking hours doing it. I do it while I’m brushing my teeth. I can’t do any more than I already do — I’m maxed out.

Do you do research for your books?

Sort of. I mean, it’s not like I go to Fillory and look around and interview the inhabitants, but I do travel. I don’t tend to go places buy azithromycin single dose because I think I’m going to write about them — such behavior would imply the existence of resources of money and thinking-ahead that I don’t have — but sometimes you find yourself in a place, and you realize, yes, I need to write about this place, because something important happens here. And you take down the details. Venice was like that for me, and Cornwall, and the south of France. Also Brooklyn.

Can I buy Magicians merch? Brakebills merch?

Yes. Yes you can.

Your novels sell pretty well. Why do you still work at Time?

That’s a good question. I’ve talked about this before, a couple of times. Bottom line is, I do make a pretty good living from my books. I look at some other writers who are in comparable places in their careers and think, gorram it, they write fiction full time, why don’t I? But I can’t. If I’d made certain decisions earlier in my life, and not made a few others, I could. But  as it is I have a lot of overhead. For reasons that don’t bear going into, I have to live in New York, and that’s incredibly expensive. Also a lot of people depend on the money from the Magicians books, not just me.

And it’s not like working for Time is a crap job. It’s a great job. It doesn’t pay as much as The Magicians pays, but it pays enough.

Do you even see this e-mail? Or does it just go to your assistant or whatever?

I do see the e-mail. I don’t have an assistant. It’s just me.

Quit yer whining.

[unintelligible; possibly “that’s not a question”]

Will you answer questions for my class/book club?

Yes. I love clases and book clubs.

Can I be your intern?

I used to say no to this one. Now I’m starting to think I could use the help. But I have to figure out how it’s going to work. Watch this space.

What would a really awesome picture of Alice by Christopher Shy look like?

It would look like this:

Awesome, right? So awesome.

26 comments on “FAQ

  1. M says:

    okay let’s be honest
    if you are gonna get an intern
    you should just hire me
    i dont actually need money
    well i do but im willing to intern for free (which i look for jobs)

    im gonna move to new york whether i get in school or not. because i grew up with the internet you know im fast with emails, typing, memes and what not

    i can also make tea…

    so yeah

    thumbs up for progress

  2. Jaimie says:

    I really like that essay by Neal Stephenson. Never saw it before… thanks for the link. It makes me feel both normal and sublime at once.

    I would be your intern, but I need to write my novel. FAN REVERSAL.

  3. John says:

    Well… that clears things up. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Lev! Can’t wait for TML.

    Still, I’m kind of surprised this isn’t a FAQ: Eliot’s wings. What happened to them between Saving Regular Joe Quentin in NY and being a king of Fillory?

  4. David Kirk says:

    Listening to The Magicians every morning on Sirius XM. Haven’t heard of your book before but I’m enjoying it immensely.

  5. Nancy says:

    Whoa! Christopher Shy’s drawing is fabulous!

  6. Mike says:

    I want to know about your other book! The non-Magicians title that’s in the works.

  7. […] because until last night I was as curious and clueless as everyone else. But Lev Grossman has now answered this and other questions for us. Will there be another Magicians […]

  8. fm says:

    if you need an intern i totally live in Brooklyn and have no sense of self worth, making working for free completely cool (seriously)(..well part time anyway)

  9. Blue says:

    The one question I want answered is “if I read the books correctly, I know how Quentin is going to get back into Fillory, right?”

    Right? 🙂

  10. […] want to say that I want to be Lev Grossman when I grow up. So I won’t. Anyway, here’s Lev answering some frequently asked questions (wait, isn’t there an abbreviation for that?) in a way that had me snort with laughter a few […]

  11. dennitzio says:

    How is “What cloth would a were-sloth wear when sloshing a were-moth?” not in your FAQ?

  12. Matt says:

    Here’s a question, are we ever going to find out about Quentin’s discipline? Or is that a plot line that’s been permanently abandoned?

    Your books are awesome by the way.

  13. Leverus says:

    We’ll find out. It’s in Chapter 2 of the next book …

  14. Matt says:

    Yay! That would have bugged me forever if it was left unanswered.

    I would also like to point out, if it hasn’t already been done, how cruel it was for your nerdy-depressive-introverted fans (ie: most of them) when you killed Alice. And to be so mean as to post beautiful drawings of her! I’m pretty sure that we’re all collectively in love with her, so you REALLY SHOULD bring her back if you aren’t already planning to. (Not that my voice at this point will change your plan).

    Anyways, stop replying to crazy people on the internet and get back to writing!

    Best of luck with the next book!

  15. Mark says:

    @matt, I’m sure everyone wants her to come back, but we don’t always get what we want. However, the pieces are there. Mayakovsky can put stuff back together and Jane smashed the watch and left it with Quentin. So it’s possible Q can fix it and go back to the event. But sometimes IRL things are left in a shitty place no matter how much we desire things to be different. Sometimes fiction reflects that.

  16. csrster says:

    Will this book include a synopsis of the previous two? Because The Magician King didn’t and I got really frustrated trying to remember vital plot details (like who the hell everybody was) from the first book.

  17. Arkaleus says:

    1. What the hell was Janet up to during this whole adventure?
    2. Baby clock tree = time travel watch right?
    3. Does Penny have to appear again? The guys an ass.
    4. Will Q ever decide on which tail to chase?
    5. Whoa the capital q in this font is neat looking Q Q Q hehehe.
    6. Where in the deepest pits of hell would a writer find a use for an intern? Go on, try to answer that question. It just does not make sense to me.
    7. Never make a game. Unless it’s D&D or GURPS. GURPS would be better, more realistic.
    8. What’s with the no contractions? Do gods have to always speak clearly or something?

    Thanks for the time

  18. Leverus says:

    1. I’ma figure that out

    2. SHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Maybe. I mean it’s magic, anything can happen.

    3. People love that dude. Seriously, I hear that all the time. And it’s impossible to kill him, God knows I’ve tried.

    4. Yes.

    5. I know right?

    6. You’d be surprised. This job is like 99% drinking free chardonnay at parties, but other 1% will kill you.

    7. I actually own the GURPS Riverworld game. I figure we can basically just re-skin that.

    8. I do not know. It just does not sound divine with contractions.

  19. CK says:

    I’m glad I just checked the blog so I didn’t have to wait impatiently for a response to Arkaleus’s kick-ass question. And awesome answers!

    Second, what discipline is Matt referring to? (Blushes)

  20. Karen says:

    I wish I could “like” some of these comments/replies (I’m doing it with my brain, though). Thanks for posting. I don’t love Penny, but I love love love to read about Penny.

  21. Paul Kelly says:

    Thank you for being awesome and bringing the multidimensional universe back to life. I got tired of reading Narnia over and over again, dying to know where the other pools of water in The Wood Between the Worlds led to.

  22. Edward teach says:

    i loved your books immensley though being a truck driver i wish they were longer… that being said what other influences did you have aside from harry potter and the chronicles of narnia?

  23. Julia S says:

    I love your books and I’m excitedly awaiting the third. I like your style of writing and particularly how you have developed Quentin’s character. Looking at how you write generally in other places, like here, is his character based on yours? Are you Quentin, or vice versa?

    That picture of Alice is awesome, by the way. Exactly as I imagined her.

  24. AshBali says:

    Went to the botanical garden the other day and found myself thinking about Fillory as I walked passed a fountain. How delightful!

  25. DrBosco says:

    *Spoilers*….I know this is kinda late but hey figured I’d post something anyway…just wanted to say that I’m 23 and your books are the first books I actually read all the way through (apart from books in high school and college I was forced to read :^x ) most of the time I just start reading and stop when a boring part comes up and never go back to it. So Kudos to you because that’s saying a lot! I really want Alice back! She was amazing, plus you never really explain where she goes after she kills Martin! Also the Fox god raping scene kinda weird and made me a bit uncomfortable…I skipped the rest of that chapter and I tell everyone I know to skip that. (Most do, the ones that don’t regret reading it…so messed up) also will the dragons play a role in the next book because that is a cool concept to I very much enjoyed that. And will we hear more about the “gods” in the next book?

  26. Joshwa says:

    Hey Lev!

    Love the books and I’m loving the TV show! Just finished Season 1. I was wondering if you’re still going to make the Christopher Shy artwork available to us for purchase? Or if there’s a way to see all of the work he’s done for The Magicians Trilogy so far?


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