Zathyn's here today to talk about his new book, an illustrated novel called THE STATUE. He's giving away a copy, so please, leave a comment to be entered to win!
I took an extended break away from writing after the release of Left of Centre and, for a while there, wasn’t sure whether or not I’d ever return to it.
I rediscovered a passion for art, moving from traditional oil painting into 3D graphics. As a result, my desire to write started to return when I began creating digital images of characters. My interest in illustrating novels/novellas was born and I decided to take a leap of faith into graphic fiction. When I thought about it, and remembered my favourite books as a kid were illustrated, it made sense to combine my artwork and writing together.
The Statue ends my writing drought and I’m thrilled with the reactions I’ve received from people who have never before seen, or even heard of, graphic fiction.
Half the fun of reading is to imagine characters and scenes inside your mind. With graphic fiction a very big part of that process is taken from a reader.
The Statue was challenging for me as many of the illustrations needed to be as emotional as the story. As a writer/illustrator both mediums need to be as strong as the other. Bad graphics will detract from a good story, and a bad story can’t be saved by good graphics. The balance has to be even or the two aspects of the book will fail. It’s double the work, double the frustrations, and double the feeling of satisfaction when I receive emails from readers who enjoyed the new experience.
I had several works in progress, couldn’t focus on just one, and I wrote half of The Statue last year before shelving it. I didn’t look at it again until one morning I woke up with an insatiable urge to re-read it. Four days later it was finished. Finally, I finished something! The relief I felt at typing ‘the end’ at the end of a manuscript was a huge weight off my shoulders. For so long people were asking me when I’d have a new book out and I honestly couldn’t give an answer to the question.
The inspiration for The Statue came to me a couple of Christmases ago when I was at the mall doing last minute shopping on Christmas Eve. Shoppers and assistants were in bad moods and certainly weren’t displaying much holiday cheer. As I stood in the checkout line, feeling my temper fray, a beautiful young man walked in with his friend. Everyone turned to stare at him. His lively conversation was laced with lots of laughter and his pretty face sported a wide smile. While people pointed and sniggered, or pointed and made loud derogatory comments, I stood spellbound by the interaction going on between this young man and his partner. Everyone around me could only see crazy. All I saw was adoration and love. I couldn’t see crazy any more than anyone else could see this young man’s friend. And I remember thinking to myself, ‘He’s the only person in this whole bloody place who’s enjoying himself. Good luck to him for having someone in his life who can make him this happy. It’s more than a lot of people have.’
I went home that night and thought about it some more. Plainly the young man was schizophrenic and even more obvious was the attitudes of others in the store who assumed he should’ve been locked up in a nuthouse. And, I thought, ‘I wonder how he’d cope if this man his adores was suddenly gone? What would he do and how would he cope with his schizophrenia if the one positive aspect of it was stolen from him?’ The plot for The Statue was born. It’s an emotional story of two couples trying to find their way back to each other under very different circumstances. The Statue isn’t erotica, but definitely is romance with a twist. The way I see it, love is only ever the reality of the two people who share it.
THE STATUE is available here:
Please Note the Smashwords version is text only and does NOT come bundled with the graphic version.
THE STATUE: Blurb
Freelance journalist Tristan Church wants to expose Galloway Mental Hospital’s dirty secrets. Teaming up with broody photographer Mark promises other perks. A ten year relationship with high school sweetheart Eli no longer offers Tristan the excitement he craves. Mark made his intentions clear and Tristan is close to giving in to his advances.
One morning at ‘The Gallows’ leaves Tristan reeling. He wasn’t prepared for the hell he witnessed and certainly wasn’t prepared to meet Zane. Disarmed by Zane’s angelic manner, Tristan can’t believe anyone would stand him up. He soon realises the tardy boyfriend only exists in Zane’s mind and the beautiful young man is not a visitor to The Gallows but a patient.
Eli walks out and Tristan’s life falls apart. A decision to meet with Mark almost ends in tragedy and Tristan finds solace in Zane’s company. Before long Zane’s delusions begin terrorising him again. While Tristan fights to save his own sanity and get Eli back, he knows someone must fight for Zane’s right to love a man no one else can see. A man who scares away violent hallucinations, takes away Zane’s fear, keeps him safe, and is trapped inside a stone statue.
EXCERPT: The Statue
Walking around Galloway Hospital’s garden gave the illusion this place offered peace. It took me a little over half an hour to find the Wisteria Corridor Zane spoke of. Being the middle of spring the Corridor showed off with bunches of scented purple flowers cascading from above me and gnarled old stems, grown fat over time, twining around wooden posts. The Corridor was longer than I’d imagined, leading from near the hospital’s main building toward a leafy garden of green lawns and colourful roses. I followed the Corridor to near its end and saw the statue perched on top of a low, ivy covered wall.
As strange as it might sound, I approached with a sense this statue had been expecting me. I’d obsessed over it since Eli walked out. Since I’d realised I’d wanted to keep Eli trapped. The statue was larger than I’d expected. I’m not sure why I imagined it to be smaller than life sized. Even covered in grime and weathered with age, he was beautiful. Crouched on his stone wall, he overlooked gardens with an expression of loss on his face. I moved in closer, looking for a plaque or engraving to tell me about the artist and if the statue was a memorial.
I’d made a promise to Zane. After all the wrong choices I’d made recently, I had to do something right. I reached up and wrapped my fingers around the statue’s hand.
“Zane wants me to tell you he loves you.” Constriction in my throat strangled my words. “He wants you to know he’ll never give up, Lucas.”
Before the emotion of the week caught up with me completely, I let go of the statue’s hand and turned to walk away. In all my life I’d never felt as lonely as I did then. I didn’t know where to go or who to turn to. My feet took me along the Wisteria Corridor until I reached the end and the main building. If I turned right, I’d head to the car park. If I turned left, I’d walk into The Gallows. I turned left.