The last thing Tom Keighley remembered was nearly being hit by a car one grey, wet, Monday
That was nearly a hundred years ago.
When he is plucked from a strange contraption in a mysterious building, Tom is thrown into the tiny village of Charles Brook, the last beacon of humanity known to exist in the world. Tom must find his place in the Brook, a village where the streets are so narrow that his shoulders touch the walls. A place where only the well armed or foolish go outside at night.
A place where the high, thick wooden walls keep out the dead..
The Returners is John Bullock’s first full length novel, and is available for free here as well as on a number of eBook distribution platforms and in print at lulu.com. An audio version is planned. If you get it here for free and like it, please consider purchasing it or making a donation at the above address.
Being one of the lucky few to read the early draft, we discussed the scene John wanted for the print & web copies, then set to work.
The brief was to create a full wrap around cover, with the focal point at the front and center.
Many things came into the initial conversation; regarding the mood, the lighting, the season the appearance of the brook, (the centrepiece location of the story), perspective & scale. From here a collection of reference was gathered to mould the scene, including forts, towers, environments & characters.
From here came the decision making, using thumbnail compositions, sampled colour tints, and font trials. This would lead onto production of the final artwork.
Whilst the story includes zombies, at it’s heart it’s not a traditional horror/zombie book, so we tread carefully not to sell it in that context. The lighting in particular was a challenge, with the scene set at dusk, to set the mood it was extremely tempting to add deep long shadows to create the atmosphere. This would however have been against the story, so lighting was kept minimal and the composition was used to add any ‘spooky’ value. The central character was also something that was played with a few times. I wanted it to be questionable whether he was in fact a zombie or not, so the typical zombie stance was left more subtle.
The Returners is a great read, and without doubt definitely worth checking out. The author is kindly offering the full read for free at his site (check the links below), so that’s the perfect excuse to have a gander! Should you enjoy the tale, donations are accepted, as well as print copies available as the digital download on Kindle. All bases covered!