Well of Souls is out there
I was surprised how easy it was to write this book. I suppose I had the advantage that I was dealing with many of the same characters from Hearts of Ice and Stone and that I felt I knew these pretty well. One of my motivations for wanting to write the sequel was wishing to spend a little longer in their company! Likewise, the bare outlines of the story were already in my mind and it was fun to explore these in detail and put flesh upon those bones. I designed my own cover for Hearts of Ice and Stone, since I am fairly competent as a graphic designer (taught it for 37 years!) but Well of Souls required a different approach. With Hearts of Ice and Stone I was able to find someone who matched my vision of Laura from an online picture library and use this as the centrepiece of the design. With Well of Souls I was not so fortunate, since I had a clear idea in mind of the image I wished to create but lacked the ability to create it. Illustration is a very different skill to design. The ability to imagine an image and then transfer that image convincingly from brain to page is a rare and precious one. I can draw and paint well enough to teach Art in secondary school but I lack the talent to 'visualize', which is how we refer to the particular skill I mention. Accordingly, I was obliged to go to a professional illustrator to take care of that for me. I'm pleased with the result, which pretty much exactly portrays what was in my mind and shows the central character, Emily, contemplating the 'well of souls' from the title.
One of the notorious disadvantages of writing a sequel is that no one is going to read it who hasn't already read its predecessor. Accordingly, my present self-appointed task is to push hard in marketing Hearts of Ice and Stone. I've organised a give-away on TikTok and Facebook and I have taken the plunge into NetGalley. This is a rather expensive proposition but I am assured that it is a most effective way of getting your book read and reviewed. Hearts of Ice and Stone has a mere 6 reviews on Amazon UK at present (all of them very positive, fortunately) but I'm told that you need about 50 before books start to sell 'organically'. Anyway, I'm hoping that this proves successful in gathering attention so that readers eventually find their way though to Well of Souls.