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 wonderful talent. He can cast spells with amazingly enchanted ink and he uses his presents to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, particularly the Fae.

Anyone who hears his voice will start to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can just interact through the composed word or speech apps. As his individual life collapses 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, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al finds proof that Gordie was living a secret life of criminal activity. Now Al is required to play detective– while preventing actual detectives who are wondering why death appears to constantly follow Al. Investigating his apprentices death will take him through Scotlands magical underworld, and hell require the aid of a naughty hobgoblin if hes to endure.

Glasgow is an amazing city

Edinburgh and the Highlands get a lot of attention when folks think about visiting Scotland– and for great reason– but Glasgow has layers, like ogres and onions and parfaits. Its the third-largest city in the UK behind London and Birmingham, but far more cost effective. It has universities, plural; a 37-acre Necropolis filled with scary Victorian-era gravesites and mausoleums for all the goth vibes you require; several football groups to cheer (and battle) 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 utilized to be that all the New Worlds tobacco was delivered to Glasgow first and from there to the rest of the European continent. That was a lot of cash and cancer. It was rather the commercial hub in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the shipbuilding market was substantial for a long period of time, but when it collapsed a few decades earlier, the city population basically cut in half from 1.2 million to 600k– part of what makes real estate more sensible there. Now theres a lot of finance and tech things taking place in Glasgow, and the city has this wonderful richness of varied architecture and neighborhood owing to its long history coexisting along with contemporary buildings. Basically its a wonderful city in which to set a city fantasy, since quite much anything can happen there.

There are countless dishes for ink and lots of them are combustible

The extensive use of bugs (like cochineal) and squishy ocean animals for pigments was specifically unexpected to me. A small fraction of the research I did wound up being utilized in the book; it was an enormous beautiful rabbit hole that operates as deep background for whatever Al does, and some of it that I didnt use for the first book will likely discover a place later in the series.

Accidental fires and residential or commercial property 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 spoiled. The main culprit behind the racket was boiling linseed oil, which smells truly dreadful, produces harmful vapors, and can blow up at any time. Without heating up the oil adequately ahead of time, the ink would dry too gradually, soak up oxygen, and polymerize like rubber. The industrial procedure now is much more secure, but doing it the old-fashioned way is flirting with spontaneously flammable doom.

Public transportation is quite rad

Ive lived in locations without a good public transportation system most all my life, so whenever Im in a city that has it, Im quickly pleased. Glasgow has a little train that circles the city core, but likewise has a rail and bus system that permits people to navigate pretty well without an automobile– which is what we did as tourists. Many remarkably, regular paths get you out of the city to lovely wee villages that normally provide an old stone church, a club, great deals of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had existed once, which is most likely real given that its not a gigantic nation and those guys got around. The relative ease of navigating both metropolitan and rural areas without owning a car showed me that my lead character didnt need a car. Taxi cabs and hitchhiking would get the slack whenever public transportation and a stretch of the legs couldnt deal with the journey.

Haggis is freaking tasty

It gets depicted as this stuff you just eat on a dare, and yeah, I confess I winced the very first time I tried it since it had actually been built up in my head as A Gross Thing You Will Only Try Once, however damn, I liked it. A lot.

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 palate. Super delighted for everybody who likes it! You can have mine. Ill trade you for your haggis. Dang, I truly need to discover some where Im at now. I miss it.

The accents are pure fantastic

I didnt try to recreate everything you hear– that would be a huge task– however I did pick a couple of words and expressions to consistently render the way a Weegie might state them to provide the flavor of the language while (hopefully) keeping it simple to read. Of course, you can listen to the audiobook narrated by Luke Daniels and appreciate the accents that way.

A lot of Americans familiarity with the Scottish accent comes from Shrek and other home entertainment, but spend a long time in Scotland and youll recognize that there are a vast array of accents throughout the nation. The Glaswegian (or Weegie) accent is its own thing, however fifty miles away in Edinburgh you get a completely various sound. Since the Weegie accent and dialect stands out from other areas 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 individuals often relate to Scotland: Laddie. I was told that word might get used in the country here and there, however was not actually a thing that Weegies say. Likewise, calling someone a jammy bastard has absolutely nothing to do with jam and even pajamas.


Kevin Hearne hugs trees, family pets doggies, and rocks out to heavy metal. He likewise believes tacos are a pretty nifty 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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He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he utilizes his presents to secure our world from rogue minions of numerous pantheons, particularly the Fae.

Glasgow has a small subway that circles around the city core, however likewise has a rail and bus system that enables individuals to get around quite well without an automobile– which is what we did as travelers. The majority of impressively, routine routes get you out of the city to captivating wee villages that typically use an old stone church, a bar, lots of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had been there when, which is most likely true given that its not an enormous nation and those dudes got around.

Now theres a lot of finance and tech stuff occurring in Glasgow, and the city has this fantastic richness of different architecture and community owing to its long history existing together with modern-day structures. A tiny portion of the research study I did wound up being used in the book; it was a massive lovely rabbit hole that runs as deep background for everything Al does, and some of it that I didnt utilize for the very first book will likely discover a place later on in the series.

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