I've almost completed the second book of my epic fantasy series, Song of Echoes! The Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) will be ready in around 2 weeks. I've already had feedback from a number of beta-readers who have trawled through the early drafts.
I hope to have the book ready to publish by mid-December (maybe a little later). But here I want to do the cover reveal.
And here it is.... well, the Kindle edition for now.
The artwork is by the brilliant Kentaro Kanamoto - see full image below for the paperback. It depicts Toryn and Hope on their travels. I love how Kentaro has blended the moonlight with the clouds and mist :0)
Ever since I opened a copy of Tolkien's The Hobbit and unfolded the map I was hooked into fantasy. As a ten year-old, I vividly remember looking at the mountains and forests and could imagine stepping into Middle Earth and meeting his rich characters.
From an early age, I had drawn maps of imaginary worlds inhabited by strange races and creatures. I envisaged impassible mountain ranges, deep ravines, impenetrable forests, and marshes where the insects would eat you alive. And then ask, what creatures would live here? and how would this world shape them?
This is a great way to set up the scene for a story of fantasy and intrigued - so that is what I started to do in 2018 when I first dared to step into the shoes of a fantasy writer. My first stories were in the realm of sci-fi, dystopia and horror, but I'd always wanted to try my hand at fantasy... and return to drawing maps :0)
I finished the first draft of Song of Echoes, in mid 2019, then set about writing the second, Age of Shadows. I was going great guns until March 2020 when Covid-19 struck, and like many others, this completely wrecked my work (my day job of teaching The Alexander Technique, and therefore interrupted my writing routine.
Eventually, I managed to haul myself back into my imaginary world - after all, it was a welcome relief to the madness and soul-destroying 'Lockdowns'! I have all but finished the first draft of the second in the series, Age of Shadows, and hope to have it ready to go by September 2021.
So then I turned my attention to crafting a map of The Five Realms. I used to do a bit of drawing in my teens, and then tried doing portraits of our cats in my twenties. Then the children came along and put a stop to all that frivolous nonsense of enjoying your spare time (I kid, of course!)
So it required some practice to with the fine ink pens to create some of the features below. Yes, I know they could be better, but hey, I'm pretty please with the end result - see the full map here. You're welcome to download it if you're going to read the books - it will save flicking back and forth when you're immersed in the story (and I do hope you will be!)
Here are some of the places from my story.
I'll post more here shortly about the onerous task of naming characters, cities, lakes, rivers and mountains. Some jump straight out from the page, whereas others take weeks :0(
Song of Echoes will be published on the 5th July 2021.
I'm often asked where do I get my ideas for my stories... well, okay not that often, if at all, but I do ask myself that question. For The Never Dawn it's pretty obvious that Orwell's 1984 plays a major part in the concept. But sometimes it's things I've read or watched years before that leave an impression that re-surface to influence my stories.
One I'd forgotten was Fritz Lang's Metropolis. I must have watched it when I was in my mid-teens and it blew my mind, as they say. Lang's 1927 film was decades ahead of its time in both cinematography and story-telling. And if it couldn't get any better, one of the scenes that gave me the idea for Noah's daily shift at the factory, has been set to the music of Pink Floyd (another one of my favorites!)
The scene below is accompanied by Welcome to the Machine', from Pink Floyd's album Wish You Were Here.
Watch and enjoy.
You can find more information about Metropolis on IMBD - it scores 8.3. If you get chance I urge you to see it.