Although some would say it wasn’t the best idea to design the cover of a book before the first draft was even completed, I sometimes find it helps to focus the mind on the task at hand. To this end, I have put together a sample cover for The Curse of the Other World, my first full-length novel.
This novel, like Unholy Crusade, is set in an alternate history universe that I have been putting together for several years. It will hopefully feel as real to you when you read the novel as this universe does. That, I think, is the goal of any writer – to create something so believable that it could pass for reality. It helps the suspension of disbelief a hell of a lot, I’m sure you’ll agree!
Unlike Unholy Crusade, this is less detective fiction and more occult horror. I want this book, which focuses on the rather brusque psychiatrist Dr Kate Barclay (who has her own blog – click the link to read it), to feel different to the first book. Both are set in the same world, but that does not mean they have to have the same feel. I’m looking to explore different aspects of this alternate Earth.
The idea of setting all my books in the same world isn’t a new one. I’ve been re-using names and locations in my stories for years now. The Final Report of James Graham and Henry Carter’s Journey were both in the same universe. My aborted NaNoWriMo novel, The Scream of Eternity, featured James Graham as a young man and Henry Carter’s son is an important character in Unholy Crusade.
I think it helps to make the world feel more real if people keep recurring, rather than a whole new cast having to be conjured up to fill the same roles as characters in other novels.
As yet, I have only the most basic of ideas about which characters from my other stories will appear in Curse of the Other World. It’s possible that none will, since the book is set in a different area of England to the other stories. If characters do turn up, they will only be there because the story requires it, however. I’m not a fan of shoehorning people in just so it’s obvious that story X takes place in the same world as story Y.