Welcome back, Gentle Readers. I trust that the New Year saw you all drowning in books, and to that TBR pile I would love to add the latest addition to the Guild; the erudite and truly-nice-chap, Richard Billing, author of The General.
nb. Every week, here at the erstwhile home of the Guild (not really a home as such, more of a drinking spot for the itinerant adventurers that indy writers so often are) this blog is lucky enough to host a discussion on different aspects of the indy writing
obsession occupation with some fantastic names. We hope that you enjoy, and that it inspires you to put pen to paper yourself!
This series of interviews is on the subject of covers.
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Richard Billing, The General
Latest Work: Magpie
Series Title: The Last Magpie
Tell us about your cover. What does it show? Why is this one your favorite?
This cover means a lot to me. It was hand drawn by my friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law, Mark Vernall. Mark prepared this cover for a collection of two short stories written by myself and my best friend Mark Brooks. We decided to self-publish these tales of ours to raise money for my grandmother’s care home, and I’m delighted to say we managed to hit our fundraising goal!
While my story falls under the high fantasy genre, Mark Brooks’s is an existentialist tale, both very different, but one Mark Vernall managed to capture thematically in one image.
The focal point of this image—the giant tree—is taken from my story, The General. It follows the tale of a military leader sent on a mission about which he has mixed feelings. The discoveries he makes causes him to call into question aspects of his life he otherwise accepted unconditionally.
Both of our stories look at the fragility of life and the corruption of morality and that’s why we agreed that the daffodils, which feature in both of our stories, would work well. For us, the daffodil symbolises hope, the prospect of change, and the delicate nature of life. The colour yellow reflects how life can become corrupted and tainted, poisoned almost. Those creepy leering eyes in the top corners represent death itself, ever watching and waiting.
It’s the little details that I love most about this image. How you can see every leaf on the tree, almost imagine bees buzzing about the daffodils, and how the fonts manage to reflect the two very different types of story. The font for The General features a sword in the letter ‘G’ and is done in a style which sits comfortably in the fantasy realm. The font for The Visitor on the other hand, is clean and simple, though the story itself is one of complex emotion. Mark included another detail too: can you spot the frog? It took me a while.
This cover will always remain one of my favourites, not only for the beautiful images crafted by hand but for what it means to me—working with some of the best people I know to raise money to better the lives of others.
We’ll continue to donate all proceeds to charity, so if you’re feeling generous why not buy a copy!
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The online adventures of Richie Billing can be found here.
The General can be purchased here (with proceeds being donated to a good cause, y’all).