With BREACH ZONE about to release in FOUR DAYS OH MY F*!KING GOD I CANT BREATHE you are being steadily bombarded with self-promotional tweets letting you know about reviews, events, guest posts, and the like. It’s the me-show, 24/7. Even I’m getting sick of myself.
I figured I’d give people a break, and let someone else have the podium for a change. Here’s my friend Greg, who has a cool project he’d like to tell you about. Please forget about BREACH ZONE AND HOW INSANELY PANICKED I AM ABOUT ITS PENDING RELEASE for a bit and give Greg your ear. And your eyes. I mean, figuratively. Don’t actually give him your . . . *sigh* Nevermind. Here’s Greg:
It all started with a piece of artwork.
That’s not quite accurate, actually. It really started with my first novel, a work of epic fantasy called The Third Sign, which came out in 2009 from Gale Cengage. Reception for that book was largely positive, but when first trying to sell it I heard a lot of variations on this: “This is great, but traditional epic fantasy is oversold, and this isn’t different enough from everything else.” Fortunately my acquisitions editor and readers mostly disagreed, but the criticism stuck with me, and when I set out to write my second novel I was determined to make something still fantastical but different enough from, well, everything else, as far as I could manage it. My original inspiration was actually a Cirque du Soleil performance in which a winged creature confronts many bizarre and fantastic creatures in another world, and that experience combined with an interest in mythology led to the writing of Icarus, a book told from the alternating perspectives of two seemingly very different characters: Icarus, a tall, fair-skinned young man with wings, incredible powers, and no memory of anything other than his name, and Jellinek, a short flamepetal prospector with tough red skin, a two-tailed lava resistant creature called a “solar” for a companion, and a general dislike of everyone around him. Together, they must defeat a race of tyrants who have enslaved the world of Vol, and through the course of the story they discover that they are more alike than they can possibly imagine.
When I began to submit this manuscript, it appeared I had achieved my initial goal, to both good and bad effect. People liked the concept and much of the execution, but often made comments more or less like this: “This is great, but it’s so different that we don’t know where to put it.”
I was stuck, and for a time I put Icarus on the back burner and moved on to other things. But I always thought Icarus is a very visual story, so when I saw some of professional comics artist Matt Slay’s illustrations for Silence in the Library’s Time Traveled Tales anthology–including the one for the prologue to Icarus, which I had originally submitted to that antho–I knew I had found someone who could bring the story to pictoral life. I spoke to Ron Garner at SitL (who just wrapped up an enormously successful Kickstarter for the all female speculative fiction anthology Athena’s Daughters) and pitched him the idea for a graphic novel of Icarus, and the rest is history. And I haven’t been disappointed since, because as the art above shows, Matt really knows how to paint vibrant and evocative images of great vitality. The more I’ve seen from him the more excited I’ve become to see my world represented in this form; and if the early reception to the Kickstarter, which launched on January 14th and hit its initial funding goal in less than a week, is any indication, other people are as excited as I am.
We’ve got lots of great stretch goal authors and artists, and even an Icarus game in the works at the higher levels. But most important to me is the fact that I’m getting the chance to share something striking, beautiful, and I hope moving, with a new audience of readers–as different as it may be. If you’re interested in checking it out yourself, you can find it at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/103879051/icarus-a-graphic-novel –and thanks!