The 65-year-old author spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the highly anticipated sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. A Dance with Dragons left off with Ramsay Bolton claiming he crushed Stannis Baratheon in the north, the Yunkai attempting to overthrow Daenerys Targaryen with an attack on Meereen and Tyrion signing on to the mercenary Second Sons.
"I think we're gonna start out with a big smash with the two enormous battles," the author says. "We have more deaths, and we have more betrayals. We have more marriages."
"Tyrion and Dany will intersect in a way, but for much of the book they're still apart," he reveals. "They both have quite large roles to play here. Tyrion has decided that he would actually like to live, for one thing, which he wasn't entirely sure of during the last book, and he's now working toward that end -- if he can survive the battle that's breaking out all around him. And Dany has embraced her heritage as a Targaryen and embraced the Targaryen words. So they're both coming home."
The author also teases there is "a lot of stuff happening at The Wall," where Jon Snow was attacked after taking command of the Night's Watch.
A release date for The Winds of Winter has not yet been set, and some speculate it may arrive as late as 2017. A Dance with Dragons was released in 2011.