The Spirit & the Shadow really is a different kind of graphic novel, so much so, I really don’t like labeling it as one. We have taken a different approach to the reading experience using dialogue interspersed with illustrations to build up certain parts of the story.
We chose not to use dialog balloons. We chose not to use "sound effects" (i.e. crack! boom!) We chose not to use any internal dialog or thought bubbles. The entire book, style wise, is more simplified.
Inspired by book styles such as The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, our goal was to find a balance between the art and the words – to use the art to enhance and tell certain parts of the story, but not overwhelm it. During intense dialog, we want the reader to be focused on the words and not be sidetracked by the art. Conversely, during an action sequence, we want to literally paint the picture, and not have the reader pulled out of the moment with a line or unnecessary sound effect.
The dialog is written as a script, with story boards – images inserted throughout dialog. The style we implemented allows the reader to read left to right, up to down the page, and break from the dialog to view the image. We found this format gave us more control over the pacing and timing of certain aspects of the story.
The book is only released in digital format. Ultimately it served our story for the better. By creating an eBook, we could control when images are seen, controlling the impact of major revelations in the story. However, we have tried to not overuse this technique to prevent the reader from feeling like they were continually "swiping" the screen (to the point that it would be distracting or annoying).
We hope this "hybrid" style encourages both graphic novel readers and traditional prose style readers to try our book. We wanted our work to be something you can pick up and enjoy in its entirety in one sitting. We have tried our best to give you something to escape into, that will leave you with a complete story, but also wanting to know what happens next ... and we promise you, there is a "next"!
Thank you for reading! Please check out our book: The Spirit and The Shadow, and enter to win the free book giveaway. Also, please share your comments below, and I will be checking out Roxanne’s Realm during the day to respond to any comments or questions!
The Spirit and The Shadow
Author: Thomas Lavalle
Illustrator: Brandon Swope
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: No Rules Media Publishing, LLC
Number of pages: 180
Word Count: 11,000
Cover Artist: Brandon Swope
A fast-paced, paranormal suspense thriller from a new creative team that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you are pulled into the chase for a vampire by those who want his secret, others who are out for justice, and one man seeking revenge.
In a world where vampires and humans coexist, Detectives Aiden Lawson and Robert Garrison are after a vampire wanted for murder. This accused vampire is also hunted by the murder victim's brother, an assassin gone rogue from his clandestine agency. What these men will learn, is that this vampire has a secret – a secret that very powerful men and vampire alike will go to great lengths to acquire. The story follows the paths of these individuals as they uncover the truth. THE SPIRIT AND THE SHADOW is a mash-up of conspiracy and paranormal genres with suspense, vengeance, and BLOOD!
About the Author:
I have been advised against announcing that I am a first-time author – that it is basically asking a reader to take a chance in my book even though I have no track record. I have no history in fiction writing, never won any awards, and never took a literature or writing class (outside of basic 101 level college courses). While not advised, it is the truth, and as honest as this bio is, so is my writing. My name is Thomas Lavalle. I am a first time writer. I also surf, read comics, and I’m a dedicated father and husband. If you’re interested in paranormal suspense - take a chance and check out my book, it’s awesome!