my books

City of Ruin: Author Notes

So it seems that most people loved, though some hated, the new artwork. I’ll be amazed when something appears online and receives a harmonious response.

There’s a vague plan to alter the cover of Nights of Villjamur for the paperback, too. The current idea was feature the character Randur as a cover model, and I emailed Julie at Pan Macmillan with some potential visual references today.

The conversation so far has pretty much gone like this:

Me: ‘He looks like a young Russell Brand.’
Julie: ‘I hate Russell Brand.’

I found it amusing. I did in fact base the whole of Randur’s personality – because let’s face it, he’s a bit of an endearing but slutty guy – on Brand. Peter Lavery, the line editor, said that he was not particularly likeable, ‘too much like Russell Brand’ and that I should make him less noxious. (I smiled at this point, knowing I’d at least succeeded at capturing that.)

Anyway. City of Ruin. Sounds like people were very interested in the blurb, a few wanted to know more. I’m not keen on explaining things away, but here’s some of what I was aiming for when writing it.

It’s a very dark piece. I dislike the word gritty – since I think it takes away the emphasis from content, themes, and style. It’s a pigeon hole. But City of Ruin is certainly more the fantasy I’ve always wanted to write, and since Nights I’ve grown in abilities and imagination. Hopefully that will be here to see.

And I’m a fan of strange things. I think fantasy is a genre in which novels can do anything, why limit yourself? So I embraced that idea a lot more.

I’ve combined that notion with the central concept that we have a city so dripping in sin that you have to bother if it’s worth saving by the military. It’s deliberately ambiguous – there will probably be characters you’re not sure if you’re meant to like (though I hope they’re engaging enough to make you want to know what happens). Brynd’s back, as is Jeryd. There are new characters: Malum (a vicious gang leader), Beami (a cultist who has an affair with a Night Guard soldier), and Doctor Voland (he’s got a bit of the devil in him…). Oh yeah, and a spider. A huge spider.

The city is different. There’s nothing grand in Villiren, no dreamy spires and vast bridges. It’s heavily commercialised, with black markets and legal trade undistinguishable. There are peep booths and turf wars and weird light sources harvested from oceanic trenches.

But enough waffle. Most of all I hope it’s more of an entertaining read, and I hope I freak a few people out along the way.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

4 replies on “City of Ruin: Author Notes”

Giggles at the Randur photo-op.

I guess those who check the blog are sold already (unless masochistic) but I am looking forward to your “unleashed” sequel, as it was clear in book one there was a strong hint of more to come.

We all hate Brand but think of the sales of he is on the cover (at a compromise make Jeryd look like Andrew Sachs)

Again and again I visit your blog in order to torture myself with new information of your next bood. The more you offer the more I’m convinced that you just write the book which I would like to read. So I will wait and torture myself until publishing of the book.

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