George R.R. Martin is still tinkering away at The Winds of Winter, the sixth installment of his epic novel series A Song of Ice and Fire – and he has no sympathy for impatient, crazed fans. In a new interview with New Mexico in Focus (via Uproxx), the author defends himself and his leisurely writing pace, even debunking the theory that he’s already completed the books and is releasing them strategically to maximize his profits.
“There are even some strange conspiracy theorists out there who are convinced that I finished the whole thing years ago but I’m just hiding the books in my cellar and releasing them in order to maximize something or other,” he says. “There’s a lot of craziness that goes on, but it’s pressure, and the obligation is to the work itself. I’m telling a story, however many books you divide it into, three books, four books, seven books, which is what I’m presently going for. It’s one story, as much as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is one story. It has a beginning; it has a lot of middle; and eventually, it will have an end.”
Martin acknowledges the immense pressure of wrapping up his beloved, Game of Thrones-fueling franchise, but he says he’s ultimately able to block out the real-life distractions and focus on the fantasy at hand: “Yes, to some extent [the pressure] does [affect me], but when the writing is going well, it doesn’t matter. When I’m there and working, I just kind of fall through my computer screen and I forget the world. I forget deadlines; I forget the TV show and the emails and all of that stuff. It’s just me and the characters and the world that I’m describing, and I’m writing a page at a time, and a scene at a time, and a word at a time.”
This isn’t the first time the 65-year-old has been forced to defend his flexible timetable. In early July, a reporter for Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger raised the concern that his age and health could interfere with finishing the series. “I find that question pretty offensive,” Martin said in response, raising a middle finger.
Back in March, Martin shared an entire chapter from The Winds of Winter, and he offered semi-spoilers and details in a June interview with Entertainment Weekly. Meanwhile, the author is considering the possibility of an eighth book in the series, which was previously envisioned to include seven titles.