Kevin Hearne: Five Things I Learned Writing Ink & Sigil

Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an amazing white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails– and a most distinct wonderful skill. He can cast spells with amazingly enchanted ink and he uses his presents to secure our world from rogue minions of numerous pantheons, especially the Fae.

However when his most current apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of criminal offense. Now Al is forced to play investigator– while preventing actual detectives who are wondering why death appears to always follow Al. Examining his apprentices death will take him through Scotlands wonderful underworld, and hell need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if hes to make it through.

However he is also cursed. Anybody who hears his voice will start to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can just communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he commits his life to his work, all the while trying to split the trick of his curse.

Glasgow is a remarkable city

Edinburgh and the Highlands get a lot of attention when folks think of checking out Scotland– and for great factor– however Glasgow has layers, like onions and trolls and parfaits. Its the third-largest city in the UK behind London and Birmingham, but much more budget friendly. It has universities, plural; a 37-acre Necropolis full of 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 utilized to be that all the New Worlds tobacco was shipped to Glasgow initially and from there to the rest of the European continent. That was a great deal of cash and cancer. It was rather the industrial hub in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the shipbuilding market was huge for a very long time, but when it collapsed a few years ago, the city population generally cut in half from 1.2 million to 600k– part of what makes real estate more sensible there. Now theres a great deal 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 coexisting together with modern-day buildings. Essentially its a great city in which to set a metropolitan dream, since quite much anything can happen there.

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

Unexpected fires and 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 went bad. The primary culprit behind the commotion was boiling linseed oil, which smells really horrible, produces harmful vapors, and can blow up at any time. Without heating up the oil sufficiently ahead of time, the ink would dry too slowly, absorb oxygen, and polymerize like rubber. The industrial procedure now is much more secure, however doing it the old-fashioned method is flirting with spontaneously combustible doom.

I discovered a lot about the history of inkmaking from Ink by Ted Bishop, which I highly recommend as an excellent start, and it has a comprehensive bibliography for additional reading. The prevalent usage of bugs (like cochineal) and squishy ocean creatures for pigments was especially surprising to me. (If youve ever eaten food thats red or worn lipstick, youve probably been smearing or taking in uponst thy lips the vibrant guts of bugs who like irritable pear cacti.) A small portion of the research study I did end up being used in the book; it was a massive 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 place later in the series.

Public transportation is quite rad

Ive resided in locations without a decent public transport system most all my life, so whenever Im in a city that has it, Im quickly amazed. Glasgow has a small subway that circles the city core, but likewise has a rail and bus system that enables people to get around quite well without a car– which is what we did as tourists. Most impressively, routine paths get you out of the city to charming wee towns that generally use an old stone church, a club, lots of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had actually existed when, which is probably true considering that its not a gigantic nation and those men navigated. The relative ease of navigating both metropolitan and rural locations without owning a vehicle revealed me that my lead character didnt require a cars and truck. Cabs and hitchhiking would get the slack whenever public transport and a stretch of the legs couldnt deal with the journey.

Haggis is freaking delicious

Now, as a counterpoint: I am not a fan of black pudding, because I tried that too and it did unkind things to my palate. Super delighted for everyone who likes it! Dang, I really require to find some where Im at now.

For reals. And I enjoy neeps and tatties too. It gets portrayed as this things you just consume on a dare, and yeah, I confess I winced the very first time I attempted it because it had been developed up in my head as A Gross Thing You Will Only Try Once, but damn, I liked it. A lot. Had it as typically as I could while I was there, since it is not widely offered outside of Scotland.

The accents are pure fantastic

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

The Glaswegian (or Weegie) accent is its own thing, however fifty miles away in Edinburgh you get a completely different noise. Because the Weegie accent and dialect is unique from other locations of Scotland, I required an expert reader from Glasgow to take an appearance at the manuscript ahead of time and make corrections. I was informed that word might get used in the nation here and there, however was not truly a thing that Weegies say.


Kevin Hearne hugs trees, animals doggies, and rocks out to heavy metal. He also thinks tacos are a quite awesome concept. 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 financing and tech things occurring in Glasgow, and the city has this fantastic richness of different architecture and neighborhood owing to its long history existing together along with modern-day structures. A small portion of the research study I did wound up being used in the book; it was an enormous beautiful rabbit hole that operates as deep background for everything Al does, and some of it that I didnt utilize for the very first book will likely discover a location later in the series.

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

Glasgow has a little subway that circles around the city core, however likewise has a rail and bus system that permits people to get around quite well without a cars and truck– which is what we did as tourists. A lot of impressively, routine routes get you out of the city to lovely wee villages that typically offer an old stone church, a bar, lots of sheep, and a claim that either William Wallace or Rob Roy MacGregor had been there once, which is probably real given that its not a massive country and those dudes got around.

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