Announcing Adler!

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, but it was finally announced at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday…

I will be writing a five-part comic serial for Titan Comics for release next year.

Adler has been described by Titan as “ladies of literature action-adventure” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen”, and focuses on Irene Adler as the titular character, with a host of other female figures from classic Victorian literature.

I felt disgruntled enough with recent depictions of Irene Adler (in films/tv) as a sort of Sherlock/Moriarty plaything, to actually do something about it – and in some miraculous way, it worked!

This is predominantly a fun (I hope!) self-contained serial (it will be collected into a trade graphic novel at the end of the run), kind of steampunky, with a vibe a little similar to the Bookman novels.

I am working again with artist Paul McCaffrey – our previous collaboration is still one of my favourite books, Going To The Moon.

There’s still a long way to go, of course, but needless to say Paul and I are excited about it!

The following is a mock-up of a cover, though expect the art to change in the final product.

Adler

It’s Hard to be a Filipino in Hebrew

One of the projects I’m currently working on is a second picture book called It’s Hard to be a Filipino in Hebrew. It’s the story of Charlie, a Filipino kid growing up in the Central Station area of Tel Aviv. Charlie wants to be a superhero… while having to come to terms to living in a society which doesn’t accept him as part of it.

I’m working with Israeli artist Adi Elkin, who I think is fantastic, and she is able to work from real life, going around the Central Station area (the setting of my current SF project of linked short stories as well) to really capture the setting, I think.

As a taster, here is the finished page 18, with some accompanying text.

Eran wants to be an air force pilot when he grows up. His dad was a mechanic in the air force. He and Charlie play at being pilot, outside the Kingdom of Pork store, next to the shawarma place where suicide bombers twice blew themselves up.

‘Vroom! Vroom!’

‘No, idiot, that’s a race car!’

‘Tuck-tuck-tuck-tuck-tuck!’

‘Pow! Bang!’

 They fly over the borders and bomb targets in Syria and Lebanon. When you’re a pilot, you can go anywhere. You can fly. Charlie wants to fly, but he doesn’t want to be a pilot.

He wants to be a superhero.

But who ever heard of a Filipino superhero?

No one’s even heard of an Israeli-Filipino.

Going To The Moon

Going To The Moon has been reviewed over at SF Signal:

Going to the Moon is the story of a young boy named Jimmy who wants to be an astronaut. He wants to go to the Moon. Jimmy also doesn’t want to have to fight his constant, taxing struggle against the Tourette’s syndrome that dominates his life. He doesn’t like the dance-like involuntary movements it causes in him. He’s bullied, in the way young people who are different are often bullied. The corprolaia of Toruette’s syndrome means that he involuntarily uses curse words, even though he doesn’t want to. As such, the book doesn’t shy away from trangressive words. Words I can’t use in this review.

The real heart and soul of the book is found in the pictures by Paul McCaffrey. They are beautifully and colorfully drawn. But there’s more to the book than just Lavie’s words and the pictures. Like the best picture books, the text and the images engage and interpolate with each other, in a dialogue that makes the book stronger for that interaction. The theme of aliens (and Jimmy himself is definitely an alien in some ways) is reflected in the imagery much more than the text. To cite another example, the use of curse words in exclamation in the imagery reminds me of the innovative subtitles in the movie Night Watch.

And the end brought tears to my eyes as the reader figures out what Jimmy and the friend he makes are too young to realize. Curse you, Lavie Tidhar…your audacity strikes me again.

It’s not a book you’d want to read to your children, because of the language. Although its about a young boy and his concerns, its a book for adults. And it moved me. It will move you, too. – read the full review.

Photo (c) Sandy Auden 2012

And I am interviewed at SF Signal about the process of creating the book:

CT: How did you end up collaborating with Paul McCaffery? When you were writing the book, did you know he would be illustrating it?

LT: Terry put us together. It took a long time to find the right artist, if I remember rightly. But once the connection was made, it was obvious he was the perfect person for it. I love his artwork, and he gives the book this wonderful slightly-off sense – it’s innocent, and charming, and really emotive, I think, and that weird physical perspective of the characters really works. I guess I’m just a fan!

CT: What was the collaboration process like?

LT: To begin with, I had to do sort of word-sketches for each page of illustration. I had to take the original text and really clarify how it was meant to be split into pages, and opposite each page of text I had to write down notes for Paul, on how I envision the page to be, what should be in it and so on. So in a way it was a little like writing comics, only you’re not writing panels, you’re writing full page illustrations. Then Paul went away and then the pages would start coming in, and then, in a few cases, we’d have back and forth on them, what worked and what didn’t. So sometimes the first illustration was spot on, at other times we went through several tries to get to the one we were most happy with.

CT: What was the most difficult aspect about writing the book?

LT: The whole thing was a challenge – in the best possible way! I think the hardest thing though was having patience – we all knew this was a long-term project, it’s literally taken years from conception to actualization – I think I’m actually still in a bit of shock that it’s real and physical and in my hands. – read the full interview.

Going To The Moon!

I’m delighted almost beyond words (well, almost!) to announce that at long last, my picture book Going To The Moon is about to be released!

Going To The Moon is the story of Jimmy, a boy with Tourette’s Syndrom, who wants to be an astronaut when he grows up. The story follows Jimmy’s bullying at school and his evolving relationship with his chief tormentor, Ronnie. (Warning: contains graphic language!). It also includes aliens! Paul Cornell was kind enough to blurb the book, calling it “a brilliant interaction between art and words.”

The amazing art is by Paul McCaffery, who really brings it to stunning, vivid life.

This is a project very close to my heart. I owe Terry Martin, of Murky Depths, a huge debt of gratitude for believing in this project, for making it happen, for hooking me up with Paul and for shepherding the whole thing through until, at last, we have a book. It’s taken… a long time – and I think the end result is absolutely stunning. I only wish I could take more credit for it!

This will be officially released at the SFX Weekender in February – I’ll be there, holed up in Pontins with a dalek and 6 pounds of frozen sausages! And will be happy to sign copies etc. Meanwhile, you can pre-order the book directly from Murky Depths (it’s right at the top, just click on cover picture to be taken to the pre-order page) or, for your shopping convenience, from Amazon UK. But if you order direct, 10% will go to charity!

Going To The Moon is coming out at the same time as The Great Game, my next mass-market novel and the third Bookman Histories book. Both will be launched at the SFX Weekender – did I mention frozen sausages?

My next graphic project is the graphic novella Adolf Hitler’s “I Dream of Ants!”, with art by Neil Struthers – this will also be published by Murky Depths, possibly later on in the year.

Going To The Moon – artwork sample