The Fantastic Strange is a novel filled with over 80 illustrations. See 'Books and Prints' for examples.
STEP RIGHT UP, one and all, save for the faint of heart! Come meet the Bearded Lady, a giant as tall as a tree, and the dangerous Medina who hurls the poisoned blades. From adventure on the high seas to the wide open plains where hobos lose themselves comes a tale of a circus show and its leader, the mysterious Great Mephisto, and how they shake the foundations of one man's life.
Behold the story of an ordinary man, Heinrich, and how he discovers himself to be anything but.
On pages brimming with full color illustrations and poetry, behold the redemption of Heinrich, how he comes to accept his life and all of its hardship with overwhelming gratitude, and witness the power of the Spirit of the Universe!
About the Author and The Fantastic Strange's Inception
I trained as a fine artist and taught for several years before transitioning to work as an illustrator and visual development artist for animation.
While updating a portfolio of my artwork, I began to focus on a single story. That story evolved from sketches and rough ideas into a poem of over 17k words. Here is a quote from the first poem that I like, though it did not make it into the novel:
“Let this echo in your ears, here I live, and here I thrive.
I no longer tarry here uncertain, but stoke the fires of what it means to be alive.
So run you devil, run you fast! And ever heed the advice I give,
Run you far from love rejected! Run you ever so far from the life unlived!”
The project grabbed me and I put everything on hold so I could see it to its completion, whatever that would be. I decided the story would be more powerful if made into a novel, which meant I would go on to learn a great deal about writing fiction. It was the most rewarding journey and experience I've ever had. The Fantastic Strange retains most of the original poem and adds a great deal of character development and depth to the tale.
It took almost three years from inception to write, re-write, edit, refine and illustrate the novel. I'm not sure if I will ever work that much in such a short time again in my life. On the other hand, looking back, I don't feel like all my work made the book happen; the book happened to me and made me work.