Hi, Michele – thank you so much for having me here!
The past week has been a happy flurry of activity. The weather in London has been unexpectedly, wonderfully warm and sunny, and I’ve been taking shameless advantage of that ! Also, I’m about to complete an internship at a literary agency which, even though it sucked up pretty much all my time, has been very interesting. And of course, I’m still all giddy with excitement because the illustrated version of my novella, The Ronin and the Fox, was just released by Storm Moon Press. I can’t stop gazing lovingly at the six gorgeous illustrations that Alice Girlanda drew for me .
As I mentioned yesterday on Babes in Boyland, I was quite worried going into the illustration process. I had very clear pictures in my head of what the characters looked like, what the setting was, the general atmosphere – and no clue of how I could describe all those details to the artist without rambling for five pages and making her want to stab me with a sharpened pencil. I didn’t want to force her to endlessly tweak faces and hair because I couldn’t explain exactly what I wanted, but at the same time my inner control freak didn’t want to be vague in the descriptions… how was that going to turn out?
It turned out wonderfully, I’m happy to say, because it looks like Alice has the amazing ability of reading my mind! After my jumbled explanations of what Hajime and Katsura should look like, and a few rather inconsistent reference photos of one actor or another I dug up from my endless pictures folder, she was super-quick in sending back some character sketches. I was a little ball of nerves opening the picture… and was rendered speechless (my roommate actually wandered over to check what I was making that face at!). It looked like she’d been snooping around my head and had managed to pin down exactly what I wanted, even though I hadn’t quite pinned it down yet myself. Katsura’s hair, his eyes, his nose – and Hajime, his chin, his brows… I was enthusiastic. After that, I was a lot more relaxed when it came to working on the actual illustrations: after all, I had a mind-reading artist at the ready !
And sure enough, it was a pleasure to work with her. She had a very tight deadline and all sorts of unforeseen issues popping up all over the place, and yet every time I mumbled that maybe that scene could be seen from the other side and maybe this character could look a bit more that way and maybe you could add this bit in and so on so forth, she found the time to change the drawing and use her amazing intuition to make it exactly what I was looking for. I am extremely grateful to her for her hard work, and to Storm Moon Press for giving me the amazing opportunity to have my work illustrated. And of course I’m utterly in love with the illustrations!
What about you? Did you have a chance to check out The Ronin and the Fox‘s illustrations – and what did you think of them? If you haven’t bought your copy yet, head over to Storm Moon Press’ The Ronin and the Fox webpage, and purchase your illustrated copy now!
In feudal Japan, Kaede Hajime lives as a vagabond ronin, a samurai without a lord. As he spends the night at a village’s inn, the innkeeper begs him to help stop a mischevious kitsune, a fox spirit, plaguing their village. But when he captures the spirit–in the form of a hauntingly beautiful man–Hajime learns that the kitsune has troubles of his own. The pearl that contains the fox’s soul has been stolen, leaving him a slave to the new owner, who is forcing him to attack the village.
Hajime agrees to help the fox retrieve the jewel, but living with a fox spirit isn’t easy, and the budding trust between them is constantly tested. Kitsune are tricksters above all, and Hajime must decide how much of the story the fox tells him is truth. What’s worse, an old comrade of Hajime’s is in town, bringing with him the sour memories of Hajime’s time as a samurai. Hajime must find a way to locate the thief and steal back the jewel before the thief turns the kitsune’s considerable power against him.