Monday, June 02, 2014

Guest Blog and Giveaway with David Monette

Music is playing, the sun is filtering its yellow warmth through the window, and here I sit in my studio staring at a screen that is staring blankly back at me, waiting for me to fill it with words. It is my ritual of creativity, this mental flogging and piecing together of thoughts, and as I sit here and I do it, my mind wanders back over the fields of the last few years. It is strange. I have performed this act many times.
How many?
It’s hard to say.
It’s certainly more than I did- what?- five, six, seven years ago. Certainly more than that.
But that’s not the most interesting question, the “how many,” that’s not the one that will fill this blank screen with words and wipe from it the smug and rather contemptuous attitude it bears for my skills as a writer. No, the most interesting question to me is: “why?” Why, oh why, did I decide to engage in this chore of staring at screens thinking and thinking of something to write? It’s not like I had no creative outlet and was dying for some sort of artistic release. I was, and still am, an illustrator. I make art for companies on commission, and it’s usually cool artwork that I get to create. Stuff like this:

And this:

So why?
Well, as it turns out, like most things the illustration market just ain’t what it used to be. Prices for the artists’ work have fallen, and there are more competitors than ever for those dollars. In my mind, this has come about due to a variety of factors, some of which include: the ability to use computers as a way to make art, massive piles of stock photos and stock illustrations, and a truly globalized talent pool willing to take pennies rather than the dollars I would ask for to do the same work.
It was because of these things, and a host of other more boring factors, that I felt like I needed to start creating my own independent properties. Projects that were mine from start to finish.
What would that be though?
Lucky for me, I was asking these questions at a time when I had returned to college for my MFA. While there, I received some excellent advice from a man I consider my mentor, Murray Tinkelman. Murray is an amazing professor and artist, my respect for him is boundless. When he looked at my written work and told me that I was one of the best writers he’d seen in his ridiculously long career as an educator, I took it seriously. He, and another professor, the esteemed Vincent Di Fate, strongly suggested that I combine my potential as a writer with my skills as an illustrator.
I thought, “Why not? I really enjoy writing, and maybe this is just the thing I need to make something that was mine from the beginning to the end. So that is what I did. I wrote a book, “The Zombie Axiom,” and I did up some interior pieces like these: 

And I put together this cover:

I then picked up an agent, and we shopped the book around for about a year before we decided to self-publish while continuing to look for a traditional publisher. To that end, I studied the above image and, though I loved the action of the piece, felt it was too bright and too graphic novel looking. Plus, I wanted to develop a sort of theme based on color with green being the dominant color on the first book, followed by blue on the second, and a combination of the two on the third. This line of thought led me to create this piece and to use it as the cover of the self-published book:

               With this image and the ten interior illustrations in hand, I self-published the novel, and within five months, was signed with Severed Press for the trilogy. Oh, and they wanted me to redo the cover. They thought that it was too science fiction-y and wanted something with more action and zombies in it. I said, “I have just the thing,” and showed them the original cover. They loved it and agreed that it needed to look less like a graphic novel cover and much less bright. Back to the drawing board! Here is how it came out:

               They really liked it, and so did I. It was immensely gratifying to see it put together as one published book, one piece of art, something I had made, the story, the images, all coming together, closing the circle. Much like this essay. The music is still playing, the sun has moved higher beyond my window, but my computer screen is no longer blank and smug. 

The Zombie Axiom
In the Time of the Dead
Book I
David Monette

Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Severed Press

Date of Publication: April 11, 2014

ISBN-10: 1925047717
ISBN-13: 978-1925047714,

Number of pages: 310
Word Count: 113,000

Cover Artist: David Monette

Book Description:

A handful of survivors claw out a life amid the ruins of the world, all the while fighting the zombie hordes.

In Northern New York State, three uncommon allies lead one of these bands in this epic struggle as they learn both the strengths and weaknesses of their enemies… and of themselves.

Pushed to their limits and holed up on a remote lake island, life has taken on a new normality. That is until winter arrives and all hell will freeze over. For it is then that the open waters of the lake, the only barrier against the unrelenting dead, will freeze. And the monsters will come. By the thousands…

Available on Amazon in Paperback and eBook

About the Author:

David Monette functions as an author and illustrator from his home in Northern New York State. His highly detailed fantasy and science fiction artwork has appeared on many books, magazines, board games, and collectible cards. While receiving his MFA in illustration, his instructors reviewed his written work and strongly suggested that he combine his writing ability with his talent as an illustrator to chart his own path.  Hence, “The Zombie Axiom” was born, a compelling, terrifying story sprinkled with amazing black and white illustrations from start to finish.

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