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Sharp Dark Things - I

Most of my friends and writing support network knows that I'm working on my second novel – Sharp Dark Things [SDT]. The thing which has always left me floundering with regards this novel is that I feel it is essential that sections of it be illustrated.

I found an illustrator a couple of years ago but things didn't work out. The main problem is that I can't afford to pay my illustrator and so can only offer shared notoriety once the book is published. Please take note of the positivity here. Not an if in sight.

The prospect of finding an illustrator crazy enough to go along with me seemed impossible, but life has a wonderful way of throwing you what you need. Enter the exuberant Miss Sarah Pennock.

I met the lovely Sarah through my work with Inkhead Creative Writing. I watched her create a sketch of an Olympic swimmer from descriptions provided by a group of children attending a writing workshop and knew I had to ask her to consider illustrating SDT even if she told me where to go and jump.  Amazingly she agreed to help me fulfill my dream of making my illustrated novel a reality.

Some of Sarah's creations

Bowser de la Rodriguez - Olympic Swimmer
Drawn for Inkhead August 2013
Fiona Starling - Private Detective
Drawn for Inkhead August 2013

Sarah and I have been meeting on and off now for the last 3 months and the work she has produced is spectacular.

The sight of her first sketches created an explosion of excitement in me. There, on paper, were the images I've been carrying around in my head for over 6 years.  Of course, they're not fully formed yet, but Sarah and I are finessing them.

While Sarah works on the drawings I'm honing the novel before sending it off to publishers, open submissions and competitions. But I also want you to share my journey of discovery as Sarah extracts what I have in my head and brings it to life on paper.

Sarah – No words can express the extent of my gratitude.

But before we get started on this journey you need to know a bit more about SDT, so here is a little teaser.

Sharp Dark Things

©Rae Stoltenkamp

Alanna, an extremely talented young artist, is finishing her A Levels and is about to begin a scholarship course at St Martins school of Art & Design when her mother, Moxi, dies. She feels guilty that she did not notice how ill her mother was but is also angry with Moxi for hiding the illness from her. To make matters worse, Alanna's creativity seems to have abandoned her.

Her mum's sister, Aunt Fran, becomes her guardian. But the two of them are not as close as they once were and Aunt Fran continues to be plagued by the death of her twin brother Thorin. What if Moxi's death rips away Aunt Fran's fragile emotional armour?

Alanna can't even turn to Kiefer, her German father. She only met him a few months before Moxi's death. Now she understands her mother's insistence that they get to know each other. And since Moxi's death Alanna has not had any contact with her father.

Alanna's sole comfort is the pixie Sprax and the world of Faetaera. But can she trust their existence? And what if dangers lurk in this supposed sanctuary too?


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