And in the final post for my day of the Discoucia book tour, I present the author, Nicholas Lovelock.
Living in Oxfordshire has always been a perfect start for an author with its rolling hills and rivers, to its forests and valleys have always been like something out of a fairytale. I always wanted to join the authors that had been inspired by this county from Tolkien to Carroll, which is why I was so compelled for Discoucia to embody the lush green and beautiful architecture around the city of Oxford.
I love to do my own illustrations, which I was inspired to do by Guillermo Del Toro who turned his doodling into a beautiful and envious art form. As such I have several small notebooks that when I get ideas I’ll write them down and turn them into larger ideas in larger notebooks. The illustrations begin as doodles and then I’ll draw them larger and add colour. They mostly consist of characters since I can picture and describe them in greater detail in the course of the story. Some of the notes begin as a sentence and I turn them into grander ideas, ideas which I get from all kinds of places.
One place that I always cherish getting ideas from is dreams, since they represent the subconscious world existing in our own heads and they also provide original and off the wall ideas. A director I highly regard is Dario Argento, who uses ideas from his dreams into making films that in themselves seem to be the stuff of nightmares. He takes something that has been used in so many murder films; the witness seeing the murder taking place and turns it into a stylised set piece where the witness can merely watch as the victim lays bleeding he is suspended between two glass panels, an idea he got from an aquarium.
One such inspirational dream I myself had was of walking through an alley in my home village of Ambrosden and emerging on a tropical beach with the ocean waves lapping calmly on the shore. This appears in a later book when the character of Archie discovers that a portal from the fog bound swamps of Thorisea exists by climbing through the hay in a barn. She exits into the same scene that I saw, which makes the whole scene feel much more real and allows me to explain the scene with greater feeling and detail.
I also use music as a way of inspiration, since it can take you to all kinds of places and moods. One such example is ‘Echoes’ by Pink Floyd, which gives me the impression of being underwater in a subterranean cave and from that one spark comes a whole plethora of ideas. Another such song is the Electric Light Orchestra’s seldom heard ‘Dark City’, which inspired Starfall Academy in Discoucia from its use of cold, dark and abandoned places in the shadow of a bright city.
I’m a keen collector of coins and banknotes, mostly British since it is easier to do so when in one’s own country. I always had the dream of collecting one of every coin from Alfred the Great to the present day, excluding gold of course since you have to know your limits, and with such coins as Five Guineas starting at £5000 each it makes sense to only go for silver, copper and bronze.
I love the history, especially 19th century history which is what I’ve used as the timeframe for Discoucia. However it’s alternate history and there are parts of electronic technology that wouldn’t have existed in our history but since it’s fantasy it doesn’t really matter. I will be basing Princess Josephine’s sister High Queen Alexandra on Queen Victoria, since she is my favourite monarch and embodied the British spirit of patriotism and oversaw some of the greatest advances in technology and architecture of the time.
As well as history, it the paranormal that I have always liked which is why I created Archie as a Goddess because she herself is paranormal and would be able to provide funnier answers when the characters are presented with something they cannot understand. I was inspired to include some myths and legends involving phantom creatures and ghostly lights, which would later on be explained by Archie who would always stand by her philosophy that there is a logical explanation to everything. Paired with Arthur who has the quality of not panicking in any situation, Jo who thinks things through before she acts and Lilia’s expert technological genius, they are a team who can face any enemy and most of the time they come out on top.
Thanks for taking the time to write for us, Nicholas an best of look with the rest of the tour.