Life Mirrors Art

Mirrored Sword (the tragicomic adventure that’s as epic as its historic setting, the Wars of the Roses) has been something of an epic adventure even in its production.

After ten years of drafting and problem-solving, working out how best to present a large cast of characters in a romantic fiction, with multiple points of view, the action moving the length and breadth of medieval England, between smoke-filled halls, palaces, castles, farm buildings and battle fields, without losing contact with the living pulse of audience participation – whew! Finally we’re almost there. The last round of drafting and copy-editing should be finished by April, and the book covers are already in the design phase.

I’ve mentioned the cover designer, Patrick Knowles, in a previous post (, and he has now forwarded a draft design of the first book. It’s a beauty. He has followed the brief faithfully (he has never before been given such specific instructions for book covers, he says, but Yours Truly has a very clear idea of the imagery needed, and Patrick knows how to add his own magic). Hero and heroine feature prominently, of course, and he has chosen well from some stock photos. I am glad to say that Patrick’s heroine doesn’t resemble the current header image of the girl with the crossbow. The archer girl is stunningly pretty, yes of course – Facebook ads featuring her have attracted a strong male response: almost 100% of audience engagement. But, I ask you, does that pretty thing look as if she could throw a punch? I chose her for the header simply because there aren’t many pictures out there of women with crossbows, and our heroine does fire a crossbow, as well as throw a mean punch.

No, I am not going to give you a preview of Patrick’s work – at least not yet. Instead I’ll show you some stock photos taken from my own media library, which are uncannily close to the pictures Patrick chose.

Meanwhile, as the book at last begins to come together, real life goes on, and some things are beginning to come apart. What was it that the poet Yeats said? 

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold,

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Allan lives in Australia. The drought here is horrendous, and while the landscape dies, Allan’s parents aren’t getting any younger. Mother Hands has just emerged from her third spell in hospital in three years, and her son has spent the past year as her carer. It is a privilege, overseeing a parent’s last years, but it also a struggle to make sense of the human condition when dealing every day with our natural limitations. They say, old age is not for wimps. I’m not old yet but I know what it is like. Life, like Art, is a tragicomic adventure.

Published by Allan Hands

Allan Hands is a pseudonym for the author of 'Mirrored Sword', his first venture into fiction. The name was cut and pasted from the names of his grandfathers to make an easy handle on his books.

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