Saturday, October 27, 2012

Memory's Wake - an Illustrated Novel

Being a curious creature, I asked author/artst Selina Fenech about the experience of creating her first full length illustrated novel, "Memory's Wake". I was lucky enough to read "Memory's Wake" in manuscript form, and found it both enchanting and exciting to find a "new" author to enjoy. I have found three or four new, or new-to-me, authors in the indie publishing world over the last couple of years, and hope to interview others soon as well.
Now, over to Selina, to tell us how "Memory's Wake" came to be...

My illustrated young adult novel Memory’s Wake has been through many incarnations before it was completed. It started life as a comic book script, then I had plans to turn it into a story with illustrations, much like the illustrated Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. Then finally I decided that it should be a proper full length novel.

 When I started writing it as a full novel, at first I was adamant that I wouldn’t illustrate it. I knew while I was writing that I didn’t want to create a book that relied on illustrations, or that was thought to be relying on the illustrations. I’d also read that a lot of people didn’t like pictures with their novels, since they liked to imagine what the characters looked like on their own. So right to the very final draft, I wrote the book as though it wasn’t going to be illustrated. Of course, when I reached that point, I changed my mind.

There were a few reasons why I chose to illustrate the novel after all-
1. Because I’m an artist. Illustrating is my “day job”, so I wanted to have a go at illustrating my characters and story world. I enjoyed painting them so much I’ve done over 45 illustrations for the book. It also meant I didn’t have to pay an outside illustrator, and I knew that the illustrations would appeal to people who were already fans of my artwork style. This has been a good thing and a bad thing. I’ve had a lot of fans of my art mention that they didn’t think the story would be very good and only bought the book for the art. Fortunately, they had said they were pleasantly surprised and loved the story too!

2. Because the story is a fairytale of sorts and has lots of fairytale references. Memory’s Wake suits being illustrated because of its genre. I also have another story which I didn’t illustrate because the other story (about super-powered teens) just didn’t suit being illustrated in my opinion.

3. Because why should teens miss out? Lots of kids books are illustrated. Even a lot of adult books, particularly in the fantasy genre are illustrated. But there’s a gap between them where books just don’t have pictures. I don’t see why teenagers have to miss out. As a teen I loved illustrations and stories, and had to turn to comic books to get my fix of both together. I’d love to see more illustrated books of all genres become available for all ages!

Of course, Memory’s Wake is going to be a trilogy, and having illustrated the first book I’m committed now to illustrating all three books! It’s a lot of work, but luckily it’s a labour of love.

Thanks so much, Selina, for taking the time to enlighten me (and other readers). Below are some links for anyone interested in finding out more about Selina and her work.
Selina Fenech - Portfolio Website

Fairies and Fantasy Pty Ltd - Selina's Online Art Store

Memory's Wake - Illustrated Fantasy Novel by Selina Fenech


No comments: