Friday, April 20, 2012

Sin, by Shaun Allan : Cover Reveal

I read Sin (available on US Kindle, UK Kindle, and print) by Shaun Allan last year, and I was blown away. The book is completely different from anything I'd read before, and Allan is a very unique voice. 

Today he is on Fresh Pot of Tea, to reveal the new cover for his book. Here it is, and it looks like a bestseller!

The new face of Sin. Look at the eyes! 

Welcome to Fresh Pot of Tea, Shaun! Have a biscuit. Could you please tell about your book, Sin?

Hi Allie.  Thanks for inviting me in.  Just the one sugar and not too much milk please.

Sin.  Well, to be honest, Sin seems much more than just a book, now.  He’s almost a person in his own right.  Where the book is concerned, Sin is a psychological thriller/urban fantasy in which Sin, the main character – who just wants to be an ordinary guy – finds himself the centre of some extraordinary circumstances.  People die around him and, to stop this, he incarcerates himself in a mental asylum but, when that doesn’t work, a failed suicide attempt finds him on the run – from himself and from the one other person who knows his secret.

Sin is an anti-hero.  You don’t know whether to like him or not, but often you can’t help but sympathise with his situation.  But, hero or anti, people still die.

Sin took ten years, from his initial short story (which is now the prologue) to complete.  I’m hoping the sequel won’t take half as long, but the way the character talks to me, and is so much a part of me, I really don’t think it will be.  Besides, he has been so well received, it seems to have made him MORE talkative.

The character of Sin has a great deal of me in him.  His sense of humour, his tangential thoughts about life, the universe and the price of fish, and so on.  Naturally, people don’t die around me, which is nice.  They say ‘write what you know’, and for a good while, I had to figure out just what I actually did know, but when I started writing Sin, it sort of flowed.  He had his own voice and I automatically seemed to base it around my local area.  Now this was a place, being from there, I thought of as almost boring, but then places like The Seven Hills became key locations, and they had a life I hadn’t seen before.

Sin was a sort of voyage of discovery for me, in a way.  I discovered a new viewpoint on where I lived.  I discovered odd thoughts and ideas that seemed to click together and I discovered a sense of humour in a dark side of myself.  Apart from that, as I had no idea what was going to happen until it did, I surprised myself by new characters and situations as they happened.
Shaun Allan

Sin has had a long journey towards a final cover. Could you please tell us about this final image and how you arrived at it?

I love the new cover.  It’s the third instalment – and the last.  The cover for Sin was originally that of a local asylum, but it didn’t show Sin himself, or his plight.  This cover does that superbly.

Thanks to the help of a certain wonderful person, Allie, I managed to find this image of a man literally cracking up.  Throughout the book you wonder if Sin is actually sane or crazy, and he, himself, feels he is falling apart and not in control of his own destiny, not least when his dead sister makes an appearance.  He simply wants to be an ordinary guy and would rather kill himself than have the awful things happening because of him.

As Sin is a narrative, the title text is my own handwriting, and I think Lisa Daly, the cover artist has done an excellent job of working that into the final cover.  I especially like the way his face seems to be dissolving away to sand, especially as a beach does play a part in the story.  It shows that he feels as if he’s losing himself.

And if you look in his eye, you can see the coin that was the catalyst for his whole series of misadventures.

It’s almost difficult to decide if Sin is a sympathetic character or not. To me, he’s brilliantly real because of his flaws. Do you like him?

I do.  I have to, I suppose, as he’s almost like me looking through a mirror into a sort of twilight version of myself.  For all his slightly twisted sense of humour and for all the bad things that happens, in the end, Sin just wants to be like you or me.  He wants to be ordinary.  The sort of person you’d pass in the street with little more than a nod to say hi.  The sort of person who can toss a coin just to decide whether to watch a movie or a soap.

Unfortunately, such decisions are taken out of his control, and that really isn’t his fault.  Whether he makes good choices or bad, he does them with the best intentions.

The book asks the question – could you kill a killer?  If you were to kill someone who was going to kill others, would that make you a hero or as bad as the person you killed?

And what if that killer was yourself?

Are good intentions a defence?

It’s not up to me to make up your mind for you.  Nor is it up to Sin.  But I hope, in the end, you’ll at least feel something for his plight.

What is your next project?

Pick one!  Well, I have a children’s book, an offbeat collection of poetry called Zits’n’Bits, which is hopefully going to be worked on.  I have another children’s book which I am working towards completing called Puddlebrain, about the youngest of three witches who have lost their powers.  She must save the villagers from a shadow that’s stealing everyone.  I’d actually written 30,000 words of this and then promptly forgotten about it whilst working on Sin, so I think it deserves to be resurrected.

Of course, there’s Sin’s blog, his diary from within the asylum, which is ongoing.  Sin never really likes to be quiet.  As such, once Puddlebrain is finished, there’ll be Sin’s sequel, Mortal Sin, to write.  That’s if no other characters or ideas muscle in first!

You can also find Shaun on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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