The book, which will act as the sixth instalment in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series that the HBO drama is based on, follows 2011’s A Dance With Dragons. The show itself overtook its source material at the end of season five.
In a new interview, Martin has confirmed that both The Winds Of Winter and the saga’s final book A Dream Of Spring will pursue plot lines independent from the TV show, including a different ending.
“Looking back, I wish I’d stayed ahead of the books,” Martin told PBS in Chicago (via Uproxx). “My biggest issue there was when they began the [TV] series, I had four books already in print and the fifth one came out just as the series was starting in 2011. I had a five-book head-start, and these are gigantic books, as you know; I never thought they would catch up with me, but they did. They caught up with me and passed me.
“That made it a little strange because now the show was ahead of me and the show was going in somewhat different directions,” Martin said. “So, I’m still working on the book, but you’ll see my ending when that comes out.”
Fans might have a while to wait, as the author revealed in April that he was “hugely behind” on The Winds Of Winter.
Writing on his Not A Blog online journal, Martin said: “What I had intended as a occasional pleasure and a way to stay in touch with my readers has become a Blog (ironically, at the same time as everyone else was abandoning their blogs for Facebook and Twitter), complete with a sense of obligation.
“When a lot of stuff happens very fast, I fall further and further behind. I am hugely behind right now, and the prospect of trying to catch up is feeling increasingly oppressive.”