The final cover!

Today I got to see the final cover for my novel. I think it looks amazing! I particularly love the green eyes on the spine…

The werewolf illustration is by Paul Mudie (who has some startling and striking fantasy images on his website) and design by Helena Waldron at my publishers, Floris. I think they’ve done a great job.

Not long now till it hits the shelves…

Countdown to publication: 35 days

Daemon Parallel full cover

An Auntie-Valentine’s Day post

In honour of Valentine’s Day, I ran a search on the text of The Daemon Parallel, and found exactly one incidence of the word ‘romantic’. (What can I say? It’s not really that sort of book…)  But I thought an extract surrounding that word might make for a fun teaser…

“Come on, Eve. Where are you?”
“I’m here. In the garden.”
Cameron twisted round. Under the yellow streetlight,
Eve’s pale features and old-fashioned clothes made her
look like a ghost.
“You’re really jumpy for a boy. Come on, this
way.” She motioned him to climb over the fence,
and follow her into the shed. “The owners are away.
Nobody will notice.”
The inside of the shed was cramped, and Cameron
found himself crushed up against a lawnmower, while
Eve perched on a sack of compost.
“It is you, isn’t it? Proper you, I mean.” He studied her
in the dim light.
“Of course it’s me. Idiot.”
The scornful tone of her voice was definitely familiar,
and her eyes held none of the terrible hunger he’d seen
when she’d been possessed by Mrs Ferguson.
“What did you say to me in the kitchen? Just after
Ferguson de-possessed you and Grandma Ives came in.”
“I said I wasn’t supposed to talk, then I told you off
for nosing about in my bedroom,” said Eve with a frown.
“Then you told a rubbish joke, then—”
“Ok, ok, I believe you! You’re definitely nippy enough.
How did you manage to sneak out?”
“She’s listening to an opera. She always does when she’s
pleased. She’s fed recently too, so she’ll likely fall asleep. I
left the window open, so I can tell when it’s nearly over.”
She tilted her head, and Cameron realised he could hear
a mournful bass voice echoing faintly down the street.
There was a pause, then an answering chorus of strings.
“I know this one,” she said. “There’s a while to go yet.
Radames and Aida still have to be buried alive in the tomb.”
“Sounds like a laugh a minute,” said Cameron.
“It’s very romantic,” said Eve. “They die together, but
at least they’re not alone.”
There was an awkward silence, and Cameron shifted
about, trying not to stand on anything sharp.
“Anyway,” said Cameron eventually, “I don’t know
what you’re on about, saying I’m jumpy. I’ve a right to
be. That Auntie Monster of yours tried to catch me and
eat me. Twice!”
“I’m not sure she does eat people,” said Eve. “At least
not all the time. I think it’s worse than that…”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Countdown to publication: 37 days

Location, location, location

From my very earliest idea, The Daemon Parallel was always going to be set in Edinburgh – or an alternate, monster-filled version of it. In the next few blogs, I’m going to share some of the locations that inspired me.

Arthur’s Seat

image (c) Kim Traynor, via wikipedia

this image (c) Kim Traynor, via wikipedia

Arthur’s Seat is a set of hills – an ancient extinct volcano – that overlooks the city. It’s a great place for a hike to clear your head, and the views are amazing…

The jagged and crumpled layers of rock that can be seen on Salisbury crags were a key inspiration for the geologist James Hutton in his theory of how the Earth was made.

What if… the clash of rock beneath the Earth that formed these hills also exposed something else? And who else might’ve come here to test out their theories about the world?

Heave Awa’ House

They say Edinburgh invented the skyscraper. The 17th century tenements of the Royal Mile often climbed ten or twelve stories above ground. And by the 1800s, some of those old buildings weren’t in the best condition…

When one of them collapsed, a young survivor was heard to call out from the rubble to his rescuers, “Heave awa’ lads, I’m no deid yet!”

The building that eventually was raised in its place included this stone head and inscription to mark the spot.

Looks like he’d have a story to tell…

St Bernard’s Well

The Water of Leith runs through the city, and you can follow its course for miles. You’re often only a short distance away from offices, traffic and houses, but you wouldn’t know it. You’re walking through a green valley, and you might see a heron, or swan, or a fox…

St Bernard’s Well looks someone plonked a miniature Greek temple down among all this lushness. People used to go and take the water there (they still unlock the pumphouse door on special occasions – the fountain has a lion’s mouth, and you waggle his tail to make him spew out the ‘healing’ liquid).

What if… this hidden location was the nesting place for something monstrous? What if instead of a statue of the watery and healthy goddess Hygieia, the plinth held a perfect white egg?

More location notes in my next blog…

Countdown to publication: 38 days

St Bernard's Well, vintage illus. via wikipedia

St Bernard's Well, vintage illus. via wikipedia

Introducing… Morgan

Back when I was planning Daemon Parallel – with cut-up bits of paper tacked all over the livingroom door – I wasn’t sure who Morgan was. I knew he arrived a little way into my story, and shook up the world of my main character, Cameron. I thought he might be a daemon who worked as a busker on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, annoying tourists with his awful guitar strumming (He isn’t…). I thought he might be a wayward big brother figure, or maybe that slightly dodgy friend you had when you were a kid… the one that was fun to hang around with, but as soon as things went wrong, managed to magically disappear (He could be…).

Oddly enough, when I sat down to write him, he turned up on the page fully-formed; edgy and aggressive, or easy-going and funny just as the mood takes him.

Here’s a little bit from when he first appears in the novel:

“Ok, so you’re a daemon. So what?”

To Cameron’s surprise, he found himself pushing his shoulders back,
and pulling himself up straight. He was almost as tall as

the boy when he tried. “I’ve met plenty of your lot, and
compared to an offal-eating curtain, you’re not all that.”

The side of the boy’s mouth twitched, as if he found
this funny. “Maybe not. Maybe I’m just different.”
He drew his foot back and aimed a vicious kick at the
gate, which shook so hard it made the whole huge fence
vibrate and sing.

“Hey, what did you do that for?” Cameron stepped
back. He glanced around, hoping the noise hadn’t
drawn any unwanted attention.

“Experiment,” said the boy, giving him a pointed
stare. “Some things give way to pressure.”

Cameron said nothing.

As the thrumming sound died down, the boy tested
the gate again. “And some don’t.”
He turned back to Cameron.

“So, are we finding a
way in – or not?”

…it’s fair to say he and Cameron have a lot to go through, before they get to know each other!

Despite his spiky attitude, Morgan seems to be a character people like. I was really pleased when my friend Kate decided to have a go at drawing him (as a practice piece for her portfolio). I think she’s captured him well, and got his wolfish grin, long tangled hair, and penchant for flashy jackets exactly right! She’s added details of her own too, like those pointy ears, and the ear and brow rings, and that marvelous stars and night sky backdrop.

It’s fascinating to discover how other people see your characters…

You can find Kate Madigan’s website here, and a little more about this drawing here.

Countdown to publication: 49 days