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Art & Ankhs: 'The Genes of Isis' Bristol Launch

Published: 24 Feb 2017   updated: 16 Mar 2017

Friends and family of fantasy author Justin Newland showed their support by attending his launch at Bristol’s Arnolfini gallery on Saturday 18 February 2017.

The Genes of Isis, a novel ten years in the writing, is a speculative account of the genesis of the human race. The story is set in ancient Egypt and revolves around two central characters: Akasha, a young woman who dreams of releasing the Surge, the next evolutionary step for a new human race, and Horque, an angel living on Earth in human form. When Akasha falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change.

Atmospheric music, a wall projection of the cover artwork and a statue of the cat goddess Bastet set the scene for this ethereal event. Justin said, 'It was great that Annie Broomfield and Cat Dickie came along from SilverWood Books. Annie had put in a lot of work getting the novel published on time and helped enormously on the day of the launch by agreeing to interview me.’

Justin shares his advice for new authors who are planning a launch event:

  • If possible, choose a venue that fits the character of the book. My first choice was the Egypt Gallery in the Bristol Museum, but that was beyond my budget. I thought a good alternative would be somewhere arty with an open, spacious feel. The Light Studio at the Arnolfini was perfect. I visited the venue several times before the actual event to discuss the room layout, acoustics, PA, catering requirements, music, timings etc. with the event staff there, who were great.
  • Book in advance. I booked the venue about two months ahead of the launch (although I didn't pay a deposit until nearer the date) to allow for any delays. I then spent a lot of time setting up the event on Facebook and inviting and reminding folks about it. I even invited people and friends who I knew couldn't come because they lived too far away, just so they knew it was happening and could support it from afar.
  • I’m a great believer in the motto 'plan the work, and work the plan’. In other words, plan to the utmost detail, then when the time comes, be prepared to change or throw it out if something better comes along at the point. I’d prepared questions and answers in advance for my Q&A with Annie so we both knew what to expect.
  • Invite a friend with a camera. I’m lucky enough to have a recording of the whole event, plus some phone snaps of the book signing.
SilverWood Publishing Assistant Annie Broomfield, who took part in a Q&A session with Justin, said, 'This was an extremely enjoyable and interesting project to work on. It has been a great collaborative process, from the beginning stages with the book’s interior to the cover design. Justin put such a lot of thought and care into the launch event at the Arnolfini and really explored his position as a debut author and the process of writing his first novel, The Genes of Isis.’

Also in attendance was illustrator Jim Burns, who created the cover artwork depicting the goddess Isis emerging from an Egyptian temple. Jim is known for his fantasy and science fiction tableaux that so brilliantly draws upon fine details and combine fantasy with realism.

Justin said, 'I'm so pleased with the novel. But, as a fisherman is only as good as his last catch, it's on to the next one.’ His next novel will be set in Ming Dynasty China with a focus on the mythology surrounding the Great Wall.

Want to know more...?

Justin writes historical, fantasy and speculative fiction with a supernatural bent. Visit Justin’s author website here or his author page here.

Copies of The Genes of Isis can be purchased from the SilverWood Bookshop here.