Art by Zach Bradley.
For any of the twelve of you who visited my website since its creation, the background art has changed. I commissioned Zach Bradley to take a scene from my book, and bring it to life.
I am a fan of the work of guys like Alan Lee, John Howe, and Roger Dean. And, as you can imagine, there's no way I could afford any of those individuals to conceptualize work from my book. I make a good living. I don't make THAT good of a living.
I originally saw Zach in a comics drawing contest on YouTube. While a comic artist, his work had a quality to it that reminded me a little of the artists I mentioned earlier. And I'll be honest-- having someone read a chapter or two from your work, and draw it as they see it is more nerve-wracking than it sounds. You don't know if they'll see what you saw as you hammered out the words, trying to describe that picture in your head. Then you'll quietly wonder what you'll say when the samples come back, and you don't like what you see.
When Zach presented to me four rough sketches for me to select, I really had a hard time choosing. They were better than I imagined! When I showed them to my wife, she was excited. And, I'll be honest, we had a hard time choosing just one. But our choice was clear. What you see is what Frankie saw when he gazed out of that window in the tower, and realized that he wasn't anywhere near home.
Maybe it was fate when the rough sketches came in. I mean, I tend to present a stiff upper lip when it comes to trying to move a project forward. Yet, only a day before, I was about as down in the dumps as you could get. I'm sending out submissions, and really not getting any bites. The longer things go on, with no one showing interest, you start to wonder if its all worth it. If agents are passing you by, what's to say readers won't as well?
I give my wife credit in that she's a constant source of support. She's convinced I have something special here, and she would know. My wife is the reader in the family. But still, the silence from agents, or the prospect of that hard road of self-publishing, and it does starts to pull you down.
Then I saw Frankie looking out that tower window, for the first time since I wrote those lines.
Zach's drawing gave my work a new life. It also lifted my sagging spirits. He saw what I saw; the image in my mind. A simple image that represents shock, and wonder, and confusion all rolled into one. A single moment in time when Frankie realized that this probably wasn't a hallucination, but real. And from that moment on, things were never going to be the same again.
Anyhow, it's on display for you to see.