'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin talks 'Winds of Winter' release date

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"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin is both loved and loathed by his fans. He's loved for creating one of the richest fantasy worlds ever in his "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series, but is loathed -- in a loving way, of course -- not only for killing off fan-favorite characters (RIP, Robb Stark) but also for taking a painful amount of time writing each of the series' installments.

The latest book to be released in "ASoIaF," 2011's "A Dance With Dragons," took six years for Martin to finish (he initially swore he'd have it out in one). Before that, book four "A Feast For Crows" took five years for Martin to complete. With only two novels left in the series -- "The WInds of Winter" and "A Dream of Spring" -- and the HBO fantasy series fast catching up to where Martin is in the books, fans have been getting more and more insistent about him completing the story.

"It is great that so many people are eager for the next book and certainly these are the people who are paying my bills and allowing me to have a house across the street from my other house," Martin admits to the Sydney Morning Herald. "But at the same time, sometimes I just wish they would stop pressuring me about it. It will be done when it's done. I'm working on it. I don't know what else I can say: I'm a slow writer, I've always been a slow writer, and these are gigantic books."

He also has gotten to the point where he's notoriously bad at keeping his story concise. Originally "A Song of Ice and Fire" was supposed to be one book, then a trilogy. Now it should be completed in seven, but Martin is done making promises.

"I think it will be [finished] in seven books but I've been wrong about that before," he says. 

At least he acknowledges that he needs to be writing faster now. "As the show comes closer and closer, I need to go faster and faster," Martin admits. "I have told them ["Game of Thrones" showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] some of where I am going, so I think they know the ultimate destination, but I have to not allow them to catch me."

Fans should rest easy knowing Martin's passion for the world of "Game of Thrones" remains as strong as ever. He's been writing this story for almost two decades, but he says he still loves this world and the characters. "I still want to go back and spend time with them," he says.

"When the writing is going really well, I do get lost in it, I almost live in it. It occupies the back of my head. I'm thinking about it constantly. I go to sleep thinking about it. I wake up thinking about it. I cross the street thinking about it -- my office is across the street from my house," Martin tells the Australian newspaper.

He continues, "On good days I vanish into Westeros and the real world goes away and I spend the day dealing with my characters. There are bad days too, when there are a lot of distractions. The real world is always a threat to the imaginary world. These days there are certain things that come with success. I am not just a writer but a business, so I have three assistants. Seven years ago I had none."

Here's hoping those assistants are keeping him on a good time frame that gets "The Winds of Winter" in store shelves within the next couple of years. "Game of Thrones" Season 4 will premiere on HBO in Spring 2014.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images