Gog-Magog, the novel, is drafted. 90,000 words. Phew. That is the single most vital milestone along this journey.
I'm not saying it's finished - as someone once said: a work of art is never finished, only abandoned*. But it has a beginning, a middle and an end, with strange and unexptected events in between. I will use a professional editor to ensure its quality is as high as can be. So it's not yet abandoned.
Emily Johns has been commissioned to do the illustrations. Her work isn't green-lit yet, so I only have examples of previous work to give a sense of her style. What I like about it is the contrasts she achieves between the traditional and the modern; and between light and dark, both literally and metaphorically.
Erica Smith has agreed to design the book. Having worked with Erica before, I know she will bring flair, inventiveness and knowledge. She is also advising on printers, and matters like format and paper. Like movie sound, you only notice book design when it's bad, so I hope she'll take it in the right way when I say that her work will probably go unnoticed.
Where next? I will be applying for Arts Council support for this project. I think it's worthy of support, as it brings traditional literature, legend and folk tale into an exciting and accessible story; it raises contemporary (and eternal) themes of identity, migration, and the environment; and it includes original art. That means nailing down costs, planning exhibitions and readings, and getting this website up.
There's also a need to approach agents with a view to mainstream publication, because the limited edition book, by definition, has a restricted readership, and the Arts Council will want the work to reach as many people as possible. As do I.
* Who said that? It has been attributed to various geniuses from Leonardo da Vinci to Oscar Wilde to, er, George Lucas. Another regularly misattributed and misquoted saying is T.S. Eliot's 'Immature poets imitate, mature poets steal'. So what the hell, I'm stealing both. Thereby demonstrating immaturity. A paradox, but in my view a nice one.