Kevin Hearne: Five Things I Learned Writing Ink & Sigil

Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with a remarkable white moustache, an appreciation for craft mixed drinks– and a most distinct magical skill. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he utilizes his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.

Anybody who hears his voice will begin to feel a mysterious hatred for Al, so he can only interact through the composed word or speech apps. As his individual life crumbles around him, he dedicates his life to his work, all the while attempting to break the trick of his curse.

However when his latest apprentice, Gordie, shows up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al finds evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of criminal offense. Now Al is required to play detective– while avoiding real detectives who are questioning why death seems to always follow Al. Examining his apprentices death will take him through Scotlands magical underworld, and hell require the assistance of a naughty hobgoblin if hes to survive.

Glasgow is an exceptional city

Edinburgh and the Highlands get a great deal of attention when folks consider checking out Scotland– and for excellent factor– but Glasgow has layers, like trolls and onions and parfaits. Its the third-largest city in the UK behind London and Birmingham, however far more budget-friendly. It has universities, plural; a 37-acre Necropolis loaded with spooky Victorian-era gravesites and mausoleums for all the goth vibes you require; several football groups to cheer (and fight) for; an eldritch organ in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & & Museum; master distillers of whisky and gin that are the envy of the world; and it used to be that all the New Worlds tobacco was delivered to Glasgow initially and from there to the remainder of the European continent. That was a whole lot of money and cancer. It was rather the industrial center in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the shipbuilding industry was big for a very long time, however when it collapsed a couple of decades back, the city population essentially halved from 1.2 million to 600k– part of what makes housing more affordable there. Now theres a great deal of financing and tech things taking place in Glasgow, and the city has this fantastic richness of different architecture and community owing to its long history existing together alongside contemporary buildings. Generally its a wonderful city in which to set a city fantasy, since practically anything can take place there.

There are countless dishes for ink and great deals of them are flammable

Unexpected fires and home damage were so typical in the old days that inkmakers needed to do their thing outside city walls on a calm day in case shit went bad. The primary perpetrator behind the commotion was boiling linseed oil, which smells really horrible, produces hazardous vapors, and can explode at any time. Without heating up the oil sufficiently beforehand, the ink would dry too slowly, absorb oxygen, and polymerize like rubber. The commercial procedure now is much safer, however doing it the old-fashioned way is flirting with spontaneously combustible doom.

I discovered a lot about the history of inkmaking from Ink by Ted Bishop, which I highly advise as an excellent start, and it has a substantial bibliography for additional reading. The widespread usage of bugs (like cochineal) and squishy ocean creatures for pigments was particularly surprising to me. (If youve ever eaten food thats used or red lipstick, youve probably been consuming or smearing uponst thy lips the colorful guts of bugs who like prickly pear cacti.) A small portion of the research study I did end up being used in the book; it was a massive lovely bunny hole that operates as deep background for whatever Al does, and a few of it that I didnt use for the first book will likely discover a location later on in the series.

Public transport is quite rad

Glasgow has a little subway that circles around the city core, but likewise has a rail and bus system that enables people to get around pretty well without a vehicle– which is what we did as tourists. The majority of impressively, routine routes get you out of the city to captivating wee towns that normally provide an old stone church, a club, lots of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had been there once, which is probably true because its not a massive nation and those dudes got around.

Haggis is freaking delicious

For reals. And I enjoy tatties and neeps too. It gets depicted as this things you just consume on a dare, and yeah, I confess I recoiled the very first time I tried it due to the fact that it had been constructed up in my head as A Gross Thing You Will Only Try Once, but damn, I liked it. A lot. Had it as frequently as I could while I existed, because it is not widely readily available outside of Scotland.

Now, as a counterpoint: I am not a fan of black pudding, due to the fact that I attempted that too and it did unkind things to my taste buds. Super pleased for everyone who likes it! Dang, I actually require to discover some where Im at now.

The accents are pure brilliant

Many Americans familiarity with the Scottish accent originates from Shrek and other home entertainment, but spend a long time in Scotland and youll acknowledge that there are a large range of accents throughout the nation. The Glaswegian (or Weegie) accent is its own thing, but fifty miles away in Edinburgh you get a completely various sound. Since the Weegie accent and dialect is unique from other locations of Scotland, I required an expert reader from Glasgow to have a look at the manuscript ahead of time and make corrections. One word that needed to go that people frequently relate to Scotland: Laddie. I was told that word might get utilized in the country occasionally, however was not truly a thing that Weegies state. Calling someone a jammy bastard has absolutely nothing to do with jam or even pajamas.

I didnt attempt to replicate whatever you hear– that would be a gigantic task– however I did decide on a few words and phrases to consistently render the method a Weegie may say them to provide the flavor of the language while (ideally) keeping it simple to read. Obviously, you can listen to the audiobook told by Luke Daniels and value the accents that way.


Kevin Hearne hugs trees, family pets doggies, and rocks out to heavy metal. He likewise thinks tacos are a quite nifty idea. He is the author of A Plague of Giants and the New York Times bestselling The Iron Druid Chronicles series.

Kevin Hearne: Website|Instagram|Twitter

He can cast spells with magically captivated ink and he uses his presents to protect our world from rogue minions of numerous pantheons, especially the Fae.

Glasgow has a little train that circles around the city core, however likewise has a rail and bus system that allows people to get around quite well without a car– which is what we did as tourists. Many impressively, regular paths get you out of the city to lovely wee towns that usually offer an old stone church, a bar, lots of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had actually been there as soon as, which is most likely real considering that its not a massive nation and those men got around.

Now theres a lot of financing and tech stuff happening in Glasgow, and the city has this wonderful richness of varied architecture and neighborhood owing to its long history existing side-by-side together with modern structures. A tiny portion of the research I did wound up being utilized in the book; it was a gigantic lovely bunny hole that operates as deep background for everything Al does, and some of it that I didnt utilize for the first book will likely discover a location later on in the series.

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