George R.R. Martin has said that because he's now self-isolating due to the spread of the coronavirus in the US, he's cracking on with writing his next Game of Thrones novel.
Martin has been working on The Winds of Winter, the sixth in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (which began with A Game of Thrones), for over a decade, having penned its first chapters in 2010.
However, with distractions from the TV adaptation and other projects, work on the book has been agonisingly slow for fans.
Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice
Taking to his blog, the 71-year-old writer has mused on the recent world news as COVID-19 spreads in a post titled ‘Strange Days’.
“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,” he wrote.
“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 continued: “Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day. Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.
“I cannot help feeling as if we are all now 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, 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... As ancient as I am, I cannot recall ever having lived through anything like the past few weeks.”
The Winds of Winter is the penultimate book in the series, with the final instalment to be A Dream of Spring.
Though the TV show eventually arrived at its final season, it did so ahead of the novels – with Martin giving showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff the roadmap of how it would end.
However, fans of the show became increasingly unimpressed with it after overtook Martin's novels, notably the final season, which aired last year.
Since Martin began his journey through the fictional lands of Westeros, with A Game of Thrones published in 1996, he's sold more than 90 million books worldwide.