While I’ve always loved to create visual images, every so often I have a book idea bounce around my head. I’ve jotted down a few story ideas over the years. And, on occasion, I revisit them. At the end of 2020, I signed up for an End 2020/Start 2021 Strong Writer’s Challenge that was instigated by Self-Publishing With Dale. I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing from him, and the chance to have a group coaching session was definitely something I needed to do!
The challenge was to create and publish a short read so that we could go through the entire process with him as our guide. I was nervous about doing a words only book, but I went back and read one of my old manuscripts called Strange Company. It was inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Evanescence songs, Hello and Haunted from their album, Fallen. I felt like the story was pretty strong and I loved the characters, so I chose to use it as the basis for my short read. Plus, I was in the middle of writing and illustrating The Everyday Adventures of Papa & Paws Book 3, so I need to economize my time.
It needed a new title, though. I’ve always called it Strange Company so it was pretty ingrained in my brain. I reflected on what the story was really about, and The Longest Night came to mind as the perfect title. Alas, my short read was a bit too short to make it to a print version since it is only about 15 pages in total. I did decide to proceed with making an audiobook version because I know some voice artists here locally and I like to support my local artist friends where I can. I’ve heard the preview and it is going to be fantastic!
I’ve always pictured a Victorian sort of feeling to the characters and the story, so for the cover, I chose a color palette of muted purple, light blue, and yellow. I avoided black entirely, as it felt too heavy. I drew a raven with a scratchy etching type of style that is a modern take on the old-school etchings from that era. I found the perfect Victorian-ish font to complement the type and the raven. The title page was missing something, though, and I quickly designed a eyecon logo for it that adds just the right amount of mystery and intrigue.
Now that the first chapter is done, I feel compelled to continue the story. My current plan is to release each chapter as an eBook as I go. Once all chapters are out, I intend to collect them into one printed volume (maybe 2 depending on page length). I might do even do a special limited edition hardcover. We’ll see when I get that far. I figure it could be a good way to build up a momentum for the book by making it serial story. Plus, I will have 13 cover designs and it will give me some nice additions to my portfolio!
You can purchase The Longest Night / Hour One : The Graveyard / here.