"Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day."
George R.R. Martin assured fans he is putting pen to paper while self-isolated during the coronavirus outbreak.
The reclusive author took to his blog on Tuesday to reveal he has been working on "The Winds of Winter," the sixth installment of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, which began with "A Game of Thrones" in 1991.
"Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day," the 71-year-old began the post titled "Strange Days." "Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms... but maybe not as grim as they may become here."
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According to recent media reports, global cases have reached over 200,000 with a death toll of 8,000. In the U.S., there have been 110 deaths attributed to COVID-19. While Martin resides in New Mexico, he promised his followers he is taking care of himself.
"For those of you who may be concerned for me personally... yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition," Martin shared. "But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions. I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I'm not going in to town or seeing anyone."
He also gave updates on his local businesses, saying the art attraction, Meow Wolf, movie theater, Jean Cocteau Cinema, and his nonprofit, the Stagecoach Foundation, have all been temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
Martin's bookstore, Beastly Books, however, will keep its mail order service up and running.
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"With quarantines, lockdowns and social isolation on the menu everywhere, and all the usual entertainment venues closing their doors, reading is the best way to pass the empty hours," he wrote. "Strange days are upon us. As ancient as I am, I cannot recall ever having lived through anything like the past few weeks."
The most recent novel in his bestselling fantasy series was "A Dance with Dragons," published in 2011. Since then, the popularity of HBO's "Game of Thrones" drama has created a new legion of fans clamoring for the next book to drop.
While Martin publicly battled writer's block, he admitted last year that the ending of the HBO show let him get back to his creative process.
"Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day -- and a good day for me is three or four pages -- I'd feel terrible because I'd be thinking: 'My God, I have to finish the book. I've only written four pages when I should have written 40,'" he told The Guardian. "But having the show finish is freeing, because I'm at my own pace now. I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it's still there."
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At the end of his blog post, Martin compared the new normal of the coronavirus to living in a science fiction novel.
"But not, alas, the sort of science fiction novel that I dreamed of living in when I was a kid," Martin stated. "The one with the cities on the Moon, colonies on Mars, household robots programmed with the Three Laws, and flying cars. I never liked the pandemic stories half so well. Stay well, my friends. Better to be safe than sorry."
"A Dream of Spring" will be the final book in Martin's series, following "The Winds of Winter."
Keep on writing, Martin! We need the distractions.
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