I spoke to Lyndon White about his book Candles a couple of years ago but it was time to catch up again as it’s completed, with a new publisher and on it’s way VERY soon.
Can you remind us what Candles is about?
Candles is my 144-page, all ages fantasy graphic novel full of monsters, mystery and magic. Generation after generation, people are taught one thing – never, ever, use magic… When a plague known as Dark-bark begins to spread over the land, one by one infected villagers disappear into the enchanted forest never to be seen again. When it reaches her village, a young girl called Grace sets out to destroy the evil witch she knows is responsible, desperate to save her family by any means possible – even if that means she must break the greatest taboo of all and steal the witch’s magic.
Has anything changed with the story/art since we last spoke?
Story wise, no. Artwork wise, yes. The story was pretty locked before I started the drawing process and I’ve developed some things a little further as the world building got more intense, but the core story and outline hasn’t changed. In terms of artwork, when this project was originally announced I had roughly 12 sample pages and a cover for people to read. Those pages have been completely redrawn from the ground up. A little over a year ago, I had a “level up” moment with my artwork and have transferred that over to Candles. The version that is presented on Kickstarter is the same book, but the 2.0 version, which is what people usually see by the time a graphic novel gets finished.
Did you approach this project differently since it was going to be a solo book?
When I first started talking to people about Candles I was really excited because I think I’ve got something special here. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but I really believe in this story and it has a lot of legs to stand on. I knew it was going to be a lot of work doing a solo book, especially when its painted artwork and you are going to be draw magic (which takes time to paint) across multiple pages. Working on a graphic novel is more like a marathon than a sprint.
For 5 days a week over the past 8 months, I’ve been dedicated to finishing the artwork on Candles and wrapping up this story. With that comes all the drawing, all the inking, all the colouring and all the lettering. It’s a lot. One thing I did this time round was work in batches. I would draw the line work for 2-3 scenes at a time, then ink & colour them, bringing them to final artwork and getting that sense of completion, before I started the next batch. Working by yourself you have to find ways to keep yourself motivated and this helped me tick little milestones off in my head. Even if no one else was tracking them.
Could this be the start of a fantasy series from you – the Lyndon-Verse?
I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but maybe. I’d like to do more and I’ve not been shy about how much I’ve enjoyed drawing this book and playing around in this world, but we’ll have to see. The book needs to do well and find its audience. I know at least two books worth of story of what happens pre and post Candles.
As readers, no one needs to know that for now. Candles is very much a complete, self-contained story and if I get to do another, I’d probably continue that theme. Standalone books but kind of sequels. Very much in line with some of the Hilda books, you can read most of them in any order. That is of course if I get to do them. There are lots of factors that go into creating books, especially graphic novels and a number of things need to line up for a book to be forged.
How does it feel to have the book pretty much finished?
I coloured and turned in the final page last week and I had a wave wash over me. Being proud, relieved, tired, a whole range of emotions. Which I wasn’t expecting. My plan was to colour the last page and then work on something else in the afternoon, but I was pretty much done for the day. It was a good kind of tired though, like you’d been on a long walk in the middle of nowhere and now you can relax. I imagine I’ll get something similar when the Kickstarter ends and when I (hopefully) see the book in print.
You’ve moved to work with Cast Iron Books for this one now – what’s that been like?
Cast Iron have been brilliant. The project was originally on Unbound and from my side of thing, it wasn’t working and I was a little concerned that Candles wouldn’t get the aftercare I think it deserves. My editor (and now publisher) Lizzie Kaye left Unbound which meant I could get out of my contract. My plan was to simply let things go quiet, finish the book myself and then get a fresh plan of attack with a finished graphic novel ready to go to print.
In the mist of that, I was chatting to Lizzie and she was in the middle of setting up her own publishing house, Cast Iron Books. Being able to continue to work with Lizzie was a no-brainer for Candles. Lizzie knows the book inside and out, where the magical scrolls are kept and all its secrets. If I was going to commit to this kind of project and throw my mind, body and soul at it, I needs someone like Lizzie to support me and give the book its best possible chance. Cast Iron are here to stay and I will continue to sing their praises at every turn.
What’s it been like on Kickstarter with this one?
Every Kickstarter has its own stress attached to it, but this is the most relaxed I’ve ever been about a crowdfunding campaign. Not because I’m cocky, but because I’ve got the mindset of if this fails, I’ve put everything into it, there’s nothing else I could have done. I could live with it. However, I’m very pleased to say we had an incredible launch day and people have shown up to support the book, people were waiting for it. We are half way through campaign and are sitting at 96% funded, we are nearly there! I’m still trying to be fairly reserved until we hit that target goal and the campaign ends. I’ll have some victory cake ready for the last day when it all goes through.
What else are you working on just now?
After working on Candles solidly for 8 months, I’ve had some very patient clients waiting for me. I’ve got a number of smaller scaled projected lined up, one off illustrations, some podcast artwork, commissions and a bunch of stuff for Blue Fox Comics. Andy Perry is currently hard at work fine tuning the script for Reanimator Incorporated: Chapter 2 and I imagine that’s right round the corner. I’ll be spending the next few weeks bringing Candles to print, finishing these smaller sized projects and then probably taking a little bit of time over summer, before I start Reanimator.
Massive thanks to Lyndon for catching up about his book again and you can get your hands on a copy through the campaign link below:
You can also keep up to date with Lyndon and Cast Iron Books through the links below too: