This is the lovely new cover mocked up for me by my very talented lesser half. I’m exceedingly happy with it. Whether or not it remains my cover if/when I publish/self-publish is another matter, but certainly as a placeholder/working cover/mock up, it is absolutely gorgeous. Granted, it has, in no way, met with my initial ‘brief’, but due to some compositional issues, we eventually settled on the above. I love it. The two characters up there perfectly reflect the quietly introspective protagonists, as well as hinting at the themes.
The ‘shadows’ in the title refers to several elements, notably the looming coming-of-age ceremonies from the beginning of the story, the long shadow of the main character’s brother and mother, and the oppressive, over-arching spectre of the White King to name but a few. There are parallels to the concept of Yin and Yang, but Good and Evil is not necessarily presented as expected. At least, I am striving to avoid those pitfalls. Conscious of good and evil being concepts created by Man, I am trying to treat them as extremes with those myriad shades of grey existing in between. Ultimately though, in the shadow of Pandemonium, good vs evil means nothing. Friends will become enemies, and enemies will become friends. Alliances will be tested, broken and forged anew in the fires of the Calamity.
Shadows of Autumn will be, I very much hope, a sort of ‘ornate fantasy’, along the lines of Den Patrick, Miles Cameron, Guy Gavriel Kay, Scott Lynch. I’m not entirely sure ‘ornate fantasy’ is officially a label, but if it’s not, I declare it so! It’s hard to exactly classify what I *hope* this novel will be, since I’m not entirely sure I have the ‘chops’ to get it done. You all know what ornate means, I’m sure. And anybody who’s read any of those authors should get an idea of what I mean. I’m aiming towards a grandiose, polished narrative, drawing heavily upon specific cultural elements and drawing my own world out of it. I hope to explore the old avenues of sword and sorcery, epic fantasy, dragons and knights in a much less traditional setting drawing upon Japan and the Sengoku Period.
I hope to explore themes of companionship, love, hate, betrayal, loyalty, but most importantly, courage and courage in the face of adversity. One of the primary guiding tenets of my main characters, and their philosophy is ‘courage first, and through it, be guided to other virtues’. I hope to explore this, and the things we can achieve by believing in ourselves, and refusing to let our limitations define us.
I realise these are lofty aims. I’m not sure if I have the skillset to achieve everything I want to, but at the very least, I intend to finish it. Once the first draft is done, I can work on making it all the things I had hoped it would be.
Please, feel free to follow me on twitter @kplanyon, and Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/kplanyon There’s nothing I would like more than to exchange support and encouragement with anybody else out there embarking on a path that scares the living shit out of them.
Oh, also, if anybody is interesting. The ‘text’ through the center of the picture reads ‘Tangem’, and is the Itsuban translation for ‘Courage’, depicting using the characters of the Oppidan, an ancient precursor civilisation.