Sunday, July 24, 2005
In a break from my usual book log entries I have decided to devote a few lines to some more or less obscure aspects of my new book, which is published this month.
THE BLACK & WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS
The marvellous die-cut double cover design was put together at Faber and Faber, using the talents of designers Donna Payne, Philip Hood and Mark Edwards. Philip Hood’s dragon also appears on the title page. But all the other illustrations, the black and white pen drawings at the start of each chapter, and those on the title pages for Parts I, II and III, are by me. Inspired in part by Philip Pullman’s chapter code symbols in The Subtle Knife, which indicated the world that each particular chapter was set in, I devised five motifs; a dragonfly nymph, an oriental dragon, a horse, an eye and a panther. Observant readers will doubtless discover for themselves the significance of these devices, which may appear, to the casual observer, to have been randomly allocated.
The title page designs at the beginning of each of the three parts were an attempt to echo the elements and substances named in the titles themselves. The titles were, in their turn, a way of conjuring up the atmosphere of each section. The titles also allude to the cyclical nature of the story (begin with BLOOD, end with BLOOD). I always enjoy stories with a satisfying and intriguing shape to them, and so I was very pleased to be able to end the book with a chapter entitled THE STORY BEGINS!
The dedication is to my older sister Pat, who died when I was halfway through writing Worm In The Blood. When I was about 14 years old I gave Pat a present of some little dragons, two adults and three babies, which I’d made out of papier-mâché. On my next birthday she painted me a green dragon with crimson wings. It stands on its hind legs, against a ground of sand-yellow beneath a lilac sky illuminated by a silver moon. My sister’s dragon is a slender, delicate and gentle-looking beast with a melancholy look in its eye. Pat was at that time a fine art student. She later became a tapestry weaver of some renown. On the back of the painting she wrote “A dragon for dragons”, which I quote in the Worm In The Blood dedication.
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