Thursday 28 November 2019

Behind the Scenes on The Hero's Quest!

Jeffrey Alan Love gives us a glimpse into the magic behind the quest...

1. What gave you the inspiration for The Hero's Quest?

This book started, as perhaps many of our early imaginations did, with a mother's lullaby. One night, singing our son to sleep, my wife ran out of verses for the lullaby she was singing, so she started making some up on the fly. "Hush little baby, don't you cry, Mama's going to build you a castle in the sky, and if that castle should crash to the ground, Mama's going to find you a golden crown..."  And as I listened, I found myself wondering if I could make a book for parents like us and their children, families steeped in fantasy, myth, magic. Families that have stacks of books by Gene Wolfe, Ursula Leguin, Susan Cooper, Iain M. Banks, Joe Abercrombie, Patricia McKillip, Neil Gaiman waiting on their shelves for the young readers. I wanted to make a book that took my love for my children, my art, and all the things that inspired it and bundle it together in a spell of pages, of words and paintings, to cast a spell in their minds and yours. And in sixty years when I am gone the spell can still be cast.

2. Tell us a little bit more about your artistic process? (location, time you work, method).

I live in Northern California, and work from home. I work regular hours, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and take weekends off to be with my family. Almost all of my work is done traditionally, with ink and acrylic paint, applied with almost anything you can find. Brushes, sponges, brayers, house paint rollers, petrified sticks I found on a beach, stones, crumpled up tin foil, old wool socks - just about anything can make an interesting mark. The key for me is to have the composition and value structure planned out before I start painting, so that once I start painting I can have fun and react to what is happening on the paper in front of me. 

What was your favourite spread to illustrate?

I don't know if I could pick a favourite spread from the book, as every page seems to lead so naturally to the next one that it seems a complete whole to me. A large part of that is thanks to the efforts of my editor Lucy Earley and art director, Ben Norland.

4. Who is your favourite illustrator/ what is your favourite book?

I could write for pages about my favourite artists and books, but if I had to pick one over all the others it would be Tales of King Arthur by James Riordan and Victor Ambrus - as a child in Germany my parents gave me a copy and I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to spend my life making things like that.

Pick up The Hero's Quest by Jeffrey Alan Love where all good books are sold and prepare to meet bold dragons and brave knights in this story teeming with fantasy and magic! Perfect for children aged 6 and above.