Hi Hale Addicts!
Have you ever read a wonderful fantasy book where the characters must travel to distant lands, experiencing grand adventures, magic, a new life and rules to live by? Have you ever traced your finger against the drawn map at the front of the book trying to imagine their perilous journey as if it were your feet marching atop the rubble of this not-earth? You are not alone. I too have stared at beautifully drawn maps that bring beautifully constructed worlds into life.
A year ago, I created a vague map to Hale's world, The Extraordinary Division. Though the story was complete, the map was not very detailed. I was disappointed that it wasn't as epic as I liked it to be and because I used a computer software to create this map. This is it:
Later I made a second attempt, trying to use free online png's because I thought my artwork wouldn't be good enough. I did not know how to draw a map and could not find the right resources to direct me. Assuming maps were created by using stamps for trees and mountains, I sort of did the same thing. This time, because the novel went through extensive editing, and I finished the first draft of the sequel to Rise of the Griffins, I knew the world of the Extraordinary Division far better than when I created the first map. Yet it still didn't get that wonderful feeling that one should get when looking at a map you find in a fantasy book, so I kept that second attempt to myself as well. It is not labeled.
When I finally signed my first contract with Morgan James, the team asked me if I had a map to put in the book. I honestly did not think I would put a map in the book and did not think about it until this point. I was just happy I was finally getting published. But I responded truthfully, saying I did have a few though am not proud enough to use either of them and would like if possible a few weeks to create a better one. They agreed and with the crunched time frame I was suddenly able to find all the right resources to help push my art forward. While practicing my drawings of forests, mountains, rivers, and so forth, I briefly spotted a beautiful map in an amazing movie I watched with my family one weekend, "The Professor and the Madman". They displayed the map for just a moment, but that moment was long enough to light a spark within me. Without rewinding or looking that map up online, my inspiration took hold and I knew how I wanted my map to look like.
After a few weeks of constant work and making adjustments, I created a map all on my own, without computer programs or free online resources. While the book, Hale: The Rise of the Griffins covers three diverse fantasy countries/ regions, I made sure that you can see each region on the map, each little place in the book that is discussed. You can trace Marcus's route to the Royal Palace and Academy, or Ellionna's journey out of the Arketcha tribe. Every landmark Hale has visited in the Griffin Clan is included, along with the perilous lands he must journey through in the sequel.
I asked my lovely editor what she thought of it, half expecting it to be too detailed for print or possibly too busy. I was so worried that I would have to start over, creating all sorts of scenarios in my head like it wouldn't fit with the size of the book or they would not accept it because I drew it in color. Not much later, she told me she loved it though it would be printed in grey style, which made me so happy!
Here is the final product. What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!