If I remember correctly, I was sitting on my Nana's living room floor. My mother, sister, and I went to visit her in southern Illinois every August. There wasn't too much to do after supper so we usually sat around reading, watching TV, or in my case, drawing. While most eighth grade minds were full of pubescent thoughts, mine was in arrested development and fixated on fantasy. I spent hours concocting stories in my head and then illustrating them on paper. I was going to be an animator. Or a writer. Or an actor. Or an illustrator. I didn't know. Anyway, the free time at Nana's little house near the train tracks always brought me inspiration. It was there on her olive shag rug that In Stone was born.
I was really into gargoyles at the time. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was out...Gargoyles: The Animated Series was a hit. I'd even purchased a little gargoyle at a novelty shop in the mall. I was obsessed with him. So, like when mermaids were popular and I drew them on any flat surface, I began sketching grotesques. The most important of those drawings was made on Nana's floor. For no reason whatsoever, I paired an ugly gargoyle with the marble statue of a beautiful woman. I portrayed them huddled on the ground of a forest, frozen in their stone shells by the sun overhead. To me, they were an alternative version of Romeo and Juliet or Beauty and the Beast. I remember being very proud of myself for dreaming up with something so lovely and strange. I felt obligated to come up with a story for the couple.
For many years I tried to figure out who they were. Eventually they were named Garth and Helena. They gained friends, lovers, enemies, and enthusiasts. Their roles went from primary, to secondary, to tertiary, and then back again. The story blossomed from novella, to graphic novel, to illustrated novel, and into a full-blown piece of fiction. As much as they have transformed, so have I. Rehearsals were abandoned for brainstorming. Auditions canceled for the completing of chapters. It's been a long journey from actor to wroter, but it was worth it.
I'm very proud to announce that my debut novel, In Stone, will be published by Bold Strokes Books in November 2012!
I don't think I can post the cover design yet, but I will go ahead and share some artwork from the original incarnation of In Stone. Once upon a time, it was to be an illustrated novel. I've moved on from that idea that but plenty of paintings still exist. Until I can share more with you, here are some moments as I imagined them in my head. Hopefully this will get you as excited as I am! Most of this is concept art and not completely finished, but I think you'll enjoy them nonetheless...
And if you've been following my other blog, Night Creatures, you've probably noticed that the majority of that site has gone down....and for good reason! Night Creatures is actually a companion piece to In Stone. It isn't a direct sequel or prequel, just another story featuring many of the same characters and mythology. Now that this novel is officially in the pipeline, I've got to be a little more discreet with future work. Sorry! But if this all goes well, maybe you'll see Bryant's story next!
Keep your eyes peeled for more posts! Thank you for reading!
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