Cover Reveal: The Maker-Man of Merryville
Here it is at last, folks: the cover reveal for The Maker-Man of Merryville. I had hinted that I may end up releasing this book in time for Christmas, as the proofing and cover design went so smoothly that I found myself ahead of schedule. Alas, other life factors have asserted themselves, so I’m back to the original plan of publishing my portal-fantasy novel for young readers in early 2022. The Maker-Man of Merryville will enter the world on January 1 of the New Year, courtesy of my publishing concern, Other Kingdoms Publishing.
I’ve published in more than one genre before, but this marks my most distinct departure. A horror and crime writer tackling middle-grade fantasy? Unthinkable! All I can say is that it’s not without precedent. Roald Dahl wrote masterfully for both children and adults. J. K. Rowling has made a name for herself (to put it mildly) doing the same. And for the most surprising example of all, we can look to Clive Barker’s fiction for a young audience. Of course, his work is consistently fantastical, so that’s a major through line, regardless of the age he’s writing for.
Similarly, I suppose, you can expect The Maker-Man of Merryville to feel a bit like it was written by a horror writer. I want readers to sense that Gilbert and Sarah, the twelve-year-old protagonists of the novel, are in real peril. Without that there are no stakes, and you can’t adequately convey peril with winks and nods, as far as I’m concerned. The boundaries are closer in for young readers than for old, but not as close in as some would have it, I think.
I always wanted this to be a book that could be enjoyed equally by the young and the old. One way to do that in fiction is to include in-jokes for adult readers, lines that will run right over the heads of the average youngster, and you might find a bit of that here. But I got to thinking that there may be another way. Maybe even a better way. What if I tried to bring the grown-ups down to a child’s understanding of fear and purpose, while surreptitiously demanding something slightly adult of young readers? Are there passages that will be challenging for a ten-year-old as a result? Will they have to look up a word or two? You bet. I’d much rather push a reader a little—old or young—than condescend.
And that’s my case for The Maker-Man of Merryville, though I don’t think it needs defending. It can speak for itself just fine. I’ve poured a lot of thought and care into this book so that it can do just that. Now I have to trust that it will all show through. Maybe I’ll get the chance to hear from those of you who develop an opinion on the matter.
But you’ll have to wait until January to test the waters. Until then, how about another viewing of the book trailer?
Postscript: For the most part, I will not be doing a ton of promotion for this book on social media, which I believe is taking a toll on our mental health, our understanding of the world, and our appreciation for each other. (Look for another post soon about why I make an exception for TikTok, of all things.) As a result, word of mouth will be more important to me than ever going forward. So please, do spread the word.