I dearly wanted to finish Recompense in time for Christmas. I don't know if I am going to make it or not. In keeping with my time honored tradition, this book is growing larger than I expected. The plot is more complex than anticipated, but it's necessary in order to avoid making it seem forced.
I intensely dislike books where the plot points are shoved down the reader's throat 'just because the author says so'. My plot points happen organically, or that's my intention. When something happens in one of my books, it is my intention for it to be a natural outgrowth of the character's nature, past history, and personal intentions.
And while I try to figure out how a book will end before I start writing it, my story conclusions are not based on forcing the characters into any particular configuration. The characters will end up being whoever they end up being. I only pre-plan the big events. Wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes in divers places, etc. Characters happen as they happen.
So, for example, I need Pete and Jess to take a trip together in the last part of the book. The trip is absolutely required in order for the plot to finish up properly, and for the story to reach its inevitable culmination. The handwriting was on the wall for this back in book 2, Wrath, so I am not forcing this ending. It is happening just as it is supposed to happen.
But the loving couple is being contrary. They like where they are at the moment. They don't want to travel. They're tired, and they're busy, and they are telling me to shove it. They have better things to do than go wandering off. So I have to lure them out, like trying to lure squirrels with a handful of peanuts. They are grumbling, but they are moving. Slowly.
I just don't know if they will get there before Christmas.