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It's Finally Happening...

Well that's that then. I've now set a launch date so there's no backing out or procrastinating about it anymore.

To be honest, I have been stewing over different cover designs in my head for a while and not truly settled on anything.

I had an idea for blending South and Central American history with iconic British imagery but I don't have the requisite software or skills to make it look professional. I also don't really have the budget at this point in time to invest in a graphic designer, many of which would absolutely come up with a better design than mine.

Then I thought that a graphic illustration style would suit the informal, humourous tone of the novel itself, so I started tinkering . In the end, I leaned towards a kind of emulation of a passport. Hopefully the gold serif font, dark blue background - which exactly matches the official colour of the post-Brexit British passports - and the NFC chip are enough to make that relatively obvious. Rather than an ornate coat of arms, I worked up a roundel Union Flag comprising of a variety of influences from global cultures.

You should be able to see African kente and South-East Asian batik influences as well as the geometric designs found in ancient Mesoamerican civilisations and the swirling Celtic loops and postmodern graffiti. Underpinning all of that is the bold black disc of a circle, implying a variety of things; a simple shape replicated in all cultures, nature, and space; a link in a chain that can entrap us, whether literally or symbolically; and the representation of unity, as if we are bound together by destiny or our shared journeys through life.

There's a lot of concepts within the imagery and that's partly because there are several themes (and Easter Eggs) within the novel. I won't spoil your enjoyment by getting all 'English Teacher' on you but rather I'll turn your direction to the title.

This is one of those instances where the title manifested itself at roughly the same time as the concept of the plot took root. The emphasis of each word opens the phrase up to wild interpretation - pride, anger, patriotism, antagonism, pity, amazement - and I hope that one of those feelings is one which you feel towards modern day Britain.

It's easy and cathartic to be vitriolic about the shambolic existence that we must navigate through in the United Kingdom. Since beginning this novel in 2019, a unbelievable amount of blunders, nepotism, dishonesty, and shame has been slapped on my view of this country. I almost felt like going back over what I had written to see just how naïve and simplistic my view was. But, in fact, it's not that when I laid out the plot of this novel the issues I want to confront were simpler or more important than what has come since. What I've realised is that these are issues which have been brushed under the carpet because of the avalanche of appalling, self-destructive politics which has spewed from the Houses of Parliament.

Please don't think that this brief diatribe suggests that 'This Bloody Country' is some polemic against politicians or Leave Voters or local councillors or military dictators or greedy corporations or anyone else that has contributed to a far worse quality of life than many of us can remember; there are characters that, like some of these people, have a depth of personality and perhaps even a soul, of sorts.

And that's partially one message within this novel. People can be both complex and simple all at once. Their complexity does not mean they cannot be understood or deserve time to be understood. Their simplicity does not mean they should be defined by one definable demographic. Just as the cover design appears simple to some, there are layers of complexity, much like I hope the pages within will seem to readers.

A simple tale with complex perspectives and themes which may appear straight-forward but which are often far more perplexing.


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