My new fantasy novel, Queen of Clouds, is available to pre-order and, all being well, will be launched at Eastercon 2022 in London. It’s been a long journey to get to this point because, well, publishing can be a slow business, but I’m utterly thrilled that the time to share this book with the world is almost here.
Queen of Clouds is a prequel to my first novel, The Moon King, and it tells the story of how the strange, flooded world of that book became that way. It’s an unvarnished metaphor for the frustrations of the common people in trying to force those in power to deal with incipient man-made ecological disaster. It takes a look too at the concept of personal worth through the lens of a particularly venal meritocracy. But mostly, its an adventuresome romp featuring wooden automata, sentient weather, compellant ink and talking, tattooed, skinhead cats, Weathermakers, Artisans and Inksmiths, and both the best literary pun and the saddest death scene I’ve ever written.
I’m immensely indebted to Ian Whates of NewCon Press for taking a chance on this book, and for putting so much work into making it a handsome edition that will sit very nicely indeed on your bookshelves beside The Moon King. When it came to discussing the cover art I felt I wanted something artisanal in keeping with the handmade ethos of the Sunshine City and Ian suggested asking author and illustrator Reggie Oliver to come on board. I absolutely love Reggie’s sketch-like depiction of Karpentine, with the sylvans in the foreground and Para’s dirigible navigating the troublesome clouds behind. It conveys the perfect flavour for the book, which is what a good cover should do.
Being able to have that kind of artistic discussion is one of the joys of working with independent presses like NewCon, which more than ever now are vital to the genres. If you’re doing any bookshopping for Christmas, y’all should be supporting these guys. There’s real gold in them catalogues!
More news about the launch in due course, although I can tell you that I’m hoping there will be a local bookshop event (for local Glasgow people) as well as the Eastercon extravaganza.
For now, I’m just really, really chuffed.