Kevin Hearne: Five Things I Learned Writing Ink & Sigil

Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with a remarkable white moustache, a gratitude for craft mixed drinks– and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with amazingly enchanted ink and he uses his presents to secure our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, particularly the Fae.

Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can just interact through the written word or speech apps. As his individual life crumbles around him, he dedicates his life to his work, all the while trying to split the trick of his curse.

When his newest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers proof that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play investigator– while avoiding actual investigators who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentices death will take him through Scotlands magical underworld, and hell need the help of a naughty hobgoblin if hes to survive.

Glasgow is an impressive city

Edinburgh and the Highlands get a lot of attention when folks think of going to Scotland– and for great factor– however Glasgow has layers, like ogres and onions and parfaits. Its the third-largest city in the UK behind London and Birmingham, however far more affordable. It has universities, plural; a 37-acre Necropolis loaded with spooky Victorian-era gravesites and mausoleums for all the goth vibes you require; numerous 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 shipped to Glasgow first and from there to the remainder of the European continent. That was a lot of money and cancer. It was quite the commercial hub in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the shipbuilding industry was big for a long time, however when it collapsed a few decades ago, the city population basically cut in half from 1.2 million to 600k– part of what makes housing more reasonable there. Now theres a lot of finance and tech things occurring in Glasgow, and the city has this fantastic richness of different architecture and community owing to its long history existing side-by-side together with contemporary structures. Generally its a fantastic city in which to set a metropolitan fantasy, since practically anything can happen there.

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

Unexpected fires and home damage were so common in the old days that inkmakers needed to do their thing outside city walls on a calm day in case shit spoiled. The main culprit behind the racket was boiling linseed oil, which smells truly dreadful, produces hazardous vapors, and can blow up at any time. Without warming the oil adequately beforehand, the ink would dry too slowly, take in oxygen, and polymerize like rubber. The industrial procedure now is much safer, but doing it the old-fashioned method is flirting with spontaneously combustible doom.

I learned a lot about the history of inkmaking from Ink by Ted Bishop, which I highly suggest as an excellent start, and it has an extensive bibliography for further reading. The extensive usage of bugs (like cochineal) and squishy ocean creatures for pigments was particularly surprising to me. (If youve ever eaten food thats red or used lipstick, youve most likely been consuming or smearing uponst thy lips the colorful guts of bugs who like prickly pear cacti.) A small portion of the research I did wound up being utilized in the book; it was a gigantic beautiful 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 find a location later in the series.

Public transport is pretty rad

Glasgow has a little train that circles around the city core, however also has a rail and bus system that enables people to get around quite well without a cars and truck– which is what we did as tourists. Most impressively, regular paths get you out of the city to captivating wee villages that usually offer an old stone church, a pub, lots of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had actually been there when, which is probably true since its not a gigantic country and those dudes got around.

Haggis is freaking tasty

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 delighted for everybody who likes it! Dang, I really require to find some where Im at now.

It gets portrayed as this stuff you just consume on a dare, and yeah, I admit I winced the very first time I attempted it since it had been developed up in my head as A Gross Thing You Will Only Try Once, however damn, I liked it. A lot.

The accents are pure brilliant

I didnt try to replicate everything you hear– that would be a gigantic task– however I did settle on a couple of words and phrases to regularly render the way a Weegie might state them to supply the flavor of the language while (hopefully) keeping it easy to read. Naturally, you can listen to the audiobook told by Luke Daniels and appreciate the accents that way.

A lot of Americans familiarity with the Scottish accent originates from Shrek and other home entertainment, but invest some time in Scotland and youll recognize that there are a large range of accents throughout the country. The Glaswegian (or Weegie) accent is its own thing, however fifty miles away in Edinburgh you get a totally various noise. Because the Weegie accent and dialect stands out from other locations of Scotland, I required a professional reader from Glasgow to have a look at the manuscript ahead of time and make corrections. One word that needed to go that people typically associate with Scotland: Laddie. I was told that word might get utilized in the country occasionally, but was not truly a thing that Weegies state. Likewise, calling somebody a jammy bastard has definitely nothing to do with jam and even pajamas.


Kevin Hearne hugs trees, animals dogs, and rocks out to heavy metal. He also believes tacos are a quite cool idea. He is the author of A Plague of Giants and the New York Times bestselling The Iron Druid Chronicles series.

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Now theres a lot of finance and tech things taking place in Glasgow, and the city has this terrific richness of diverse architecture and neighborhood owing to its long history existing together along with modern structures. A small fraction of the research I did wound up being used in the book; it was a massive beautiful rabbit hole that runs as deep background for everything Al does, and some of it that I didnt use for the very first book will likely discover a place later in the series.

He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his presents to safeguard our world from rogue minions of different pantheons, specifically the Fae.

Glasgow has a small subway that circles around the city core, but also has a rail and bus system that permits people to get around pretty well without an automobile– which is what we did as tourists. Most remarkably, regular routes get you out of the city to lovely wee towns that usually provide an old stone church, a club, lots of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had been there as soon as, which is most likely real considering that its not a gigantic country and those guys got around.

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