Queen of Clouds is officially published today. I can’t tell you how that feels. Honestly, there’s nothing like the pleasure of seeing That Book What You Wrote actually existing in the world as a thing of paper and ink (and pixels). It never, ever, gets old.
I’m massively indebted to Ian Whates and NewCon Press for taking a punt on this strange story, and for making the finished article a thing of beauty. To John Jarrold, for his excellent editorial nudgings and keeping the faith. To Hal Duncan for those long, beery Stravaigin sessions where we stripped an early draft down and put it back together in a way that worked. And to everyone at GSFWC and beyond who helped drag it from concept to completion. You’re all amazing.
Just for fun, here’s five fascinating facts about Queen Of Clouds.
- The hand-drawn cover image by the most excellent Reggie Oliver reflects the importance placed on craft and artisanship in the book’s setting, the Sunshine City of Karpentine. You can spot several sylvans hidden in the trees, as well as a Weathermaker dirigible and, I think, Bully Smout’s charabanc on the road. And clouds of course, lots of clouds.
- Talking of the Sunshine City, I didn’t realise until quite late on that Queen of Clouds is actually something of an accidental climate fiction story. I wrote a guest blog piece about it over at Rising Shadow.
- The book took a long time to come to fruition. But one scene that has been there since the very first draft is in Chapter 13, where Para takes Billy to meet Sister Sin and Sister Skin and their strange cats. I’ve used that passage a few times for readings over the years and I didn’t think anyone would remember it, but several people have told me recently that they do, and are looking forward to reading it for themselves.
- I don’t put real people into my books, but I do sometimes reference the names or personality characteristics of friends. There are several in Queen Of Clouds, some more obvious than others…
- Chapter 26 contains my favourite three paragraphs that I’ve ever written.
Queen of Clouds can be had from all good book shops, direct from the publisher, (or that famous online retailer if you want the kindle version). Or you can come along to the the launches at Waterstones or Eastercon and get one in person.
And hey, if you like it – even if you only like it a bit – don’t forget to leave a review somewhere. They really help.