'The Winds of Winter' release date: George R.R. Martin determined to finish book by 2016

[Photo credit: George RR Martin | Twitter]George RR Martin

With HBO's "Game of Thrones" having caught up with the most recent book in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" saga, fans of the hit TV show and the novels are eagerly anticipating the release of the series' sixth book, "The Winds of Winter." 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the author said that having "The Winds of Winter" published before season 6 of "Game of Thrones" next spring "has been important to me all along." 

"I wish it was out now," Martin told EW last month. "Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish. But I canceled two convention appearances. I'm turning down a lot more interviews — anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done." 

In a March 16 post on his blog, Not a Blog, Martin apologized to fans who planned to see him at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga, which will take place in November. The author wrote that he has too much to do that's why he's canceling an appearance at the event. 

"Too many things on my plate. Son of Kong foremost among them," he said.

Son of Kong is an inside joke Martin uses to refer to "The Winds of Winter" on his blog. 

The author also revealed that he will not be attending this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Martin has been a mainstay of HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel since 2010. 

However, the author added in his blog post that if he does finish the book before the conventions, he might make an appearance at the aforementioned events after all. 

"I reserve the right to change my mind," he added. 

The last time Martin mentioned the novel was on a post written on June 10, wherein he said that he knows that the Hollywood Reporter named him as the third most powerful writer in Hollywood. The author said that he cannot control what anyone says or does, but one thing that he does have control on is what happens to his books. 

"So I am going to return to that chapter I've been writing on THE WINDS OF WINTER now, thank you very much," he added. 

Martin has been very generous to fans as he has released several excerpts from the upcoming book on his website, GeorgeRRMartin.com.