Please welcome author Jan Hawke as she continues her tour here today!
Even if I wasn’t a graphic designer by trade, as every author knows (whether or not they’re a best-selling one!), books are judged by their covers, especially if it’s a bad one!
Once I’d decided on my quirky title for A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac, I then had to think long and hard about how to convey what’s in the book visually. With fantasy to the fore in the title, this left me with a certain amount of leeway for interpreting the buccaneering approach to imaginative reinvention… There was also the ‘real world’ aspect, in that fantasy writing and roleplay was wonderful therapy for my recovery and reconstruction of my true personality. Whatever made the cover had to reflect those themes strongly.
I knew I didn’t want to use any of my fan-art relating to Jano or to Middle Earth, because it there was so much else involved that called on other myths, legends and mindscapes that had delighted, fascinated and taught me life-lessons since I was a small child. Real life teaches us that good isn’t always triumphant, and that the flip side of dreaming is having nightmares. So I started to ponder on the nature of fate and the fantastic. On how life can also take you to places you never expected, or even wanted to go to.
Almost inevitably this led me to some illustrations for the tarot that I’d made about 5 years ago. The ones I thought of most in relation to the prolonged and deep-seated struggle I’d had with depression, meant that I gravitated to the images for The Hanged Man, the King of Swords, The Hierophant or Seer, and the Tower of Destruction.
You can see the original pieces for these four cards here –freebootersalmanac.blogspot.co.uk/p/cover-story.html
I concentrated on those four cards, because they all scoped in the freebooting concept in some way (The Hierophant was inspired by Odin, the one-eyed Allfather of Norse myth, which also has strong links to Middle Earth). However, because I’d chosen a lighthouse and a wild seascape, complete with white horses in the waves and Poseidon in the background for the Tower, this literally blasted the competition out of the water with its connotations of catastrophic events and fantasmagorical creatures! How much swash-buckling can you take?
Typography is another of my passions. My father was a traditional sign-writer and maker, so fonts had always been on my radar, along with paint and brushes from the moment I could hold a crayon. Because my brand of fantasy leans very much to the gothic and often the ‘romantic’, I chose two distinct styles to fuse together into a pleasing assemblage with the imagery. and my cover solution was complete!
If you’d like to see the rest of the artwork for my fantasy tarot major arcana, click the link – janowyn.deviantart.com/gallery/28530111/DreamWorlds-Gallery
Siân Glírdan is the fusion persona of the elven roleplay character, Janowyn (Jano), High Bard of the River Kingdom and her ‘real world’ creator, author, Jan Hawke. Glírdan is the elven word for ‘songsmith’, and Siân is a Welsh variant of Jan (in case you were wondering!).
When it became obvious to Jan that Jano had a far better handle than she could ever have on writing in the fantasy genres, Siân was born, fully formed and raring to go. A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac, which is basically the manual on how Jano was brought into being and developed, is Siân and Jano’s first official collaboration. They’re currently working hard on an epic future fantasy series, Tomes of the Havenlands, loosely based on the ancient Celtic world. The first volume should reach the shelves at the end of 2016.
A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac back blurb
This is poetry, wrapped in fantasy, within a memoir… Or, to put it another way, it’s a true tale that might well apply to many fantasy fans and gamers who can’t be bothered with keeping their realities separated from their more lurid imaginings.
In my case, this is a sort of ‘real’ cyberspace profiling, during a phase of my life when roleplay truly did need to be therapy, because what was happening around me for real was not what I wanted to participate in. So, buckle up your swash and prepare to witness a titanic battle played out on the field of sanity – where what happens in your head is the only truth that matters.
The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com