Image description: A cropped version of the Notecard Rosette (see image description below) designed to look very much like an ammonite, or a giant eye with a dark blue pupil, with writing—”Spear” in big black letters, and, beneath that in smaller red letters, “Nicola Griffith,”—are prominent in the upper right corner.
Spear, my short novel set in a sixth-century Britain of demi-gods and legends, will be out in 9 months. The publishing process proceeds apace. Here are some updates.
Today I got the first pass proofs—I hate proofing, it’s my least favourite part of the process—but I’m also delighted by these proofs because I’m finally getting a sense of what the book might look like. The finished length is 192 pages—which is actually 184 pages if you discount the title page, copyright page, half-title pages, etc, but include the Author’s Note. It’s a juicy note, long enough to need 19 footnotes. (I love writing footnotes; they’re an opportunity for sly jokes and generally things not to be taken too seriously—though of course some of these footnotes are Very Serious and Weighty Indeed.)
As well as the fabulous cover illustration, Rovina Cai has created five luscious and evocative black and white line drawings as interior illustrations. One in particular will stop your heart (especially if you’re sneaking peeks ahead of our reading, tsk tsk), but I’ll say no more for now.
Rovina has added colour wash and animated two of those illustrations to make lovely GIFs which we’ll be using for Very Special Promotions. More on that later, too.
And speaking of Special Promotions we also have a specially-designed enamel pin—the kind of thing that would look good worn on a lapel in all walks of life, as well as pinned to a book bag etc. We also have notecards which look like this:
Image description: Six notecards fanned out on a wooden table. The main body of the card is white, with a red, black, bronze and white illustration in a long strip down the left hand side. Across the bottom of the white part is printed, in big black letters, “Spear,” and beneath that in smaller red letter, “Nicola Griffith.“
Or if, like me, you get obsessed with patterns, like this:
Image description: Dozens—at least 50—SPEAR notecards arranged like a rosette so that it looks very much like a fan or kaleidoscope or even wheels spinning within wheels of white, red, bronze, and black against a black background. The final card is arranged at the one o’clock position, but hanging perpendicularly, so the writing, “Spear” in big black letters, and, beneath that in smaller red letters, “Nicola Griffith,” are clearly displayed.
Or like the image at the top of the post (which, yes, is deliberately made to look like an ammonite—I’ve talked about my fascination with phi before).
I have made a map which I’m pretty pleased with. I made it too late for inclusion in the book, and it needs some tweaks before it’s ready for prime time, but—again—more on that soon.
I just got confirmation that I’ll be doing the audio narration. I’m thrilled about this! I love reading aloud, love to perform my own work, and this book in particular was written to be read aloud. It has a rolling rhythm that I can’t wait for you to hear. Excitingly, I’ve finally found an accessible sound studio that doesn’t charge obscene rates. Jack Straw Cultural Center is a venerable community organisation and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to working with them. Assuming it goes well, it will mean much more audio from me in the future. That won’t be happening until February, at which point I’ll blog about the process, as I did with So Lucky. Meanwhile, you can listen and watch my 3-minute reading of the beginning of Spear and can pre-order the audio, hardcover, and ebook editions now from most book retailers:
Finally, I have my first two blurbs and an advanced reader review and I am hugging myself and grinning. Those, too, will appear at the proper time but for now let me just say—they are pretty fucking good 😎
That’s about it for Spear, for now. I hope to have some sort of MENEWOOD update soon.