Even though I write self-published novels, I’m always skeptical of these titles. Not going through an agent and being “vetted” I think could lead too many poor works out there. However the opposite can also be true, the agent and publisher are so desperate for the money a title can make, they don’t look at the slightly different, and quirky books. The books that are extremely good, but don’t hold up to the tried and tested formula of what sells in millions. So when I was asked to create a book cover for the first book of the Malinding series by Tom Ireland, (clicky here) my faith in the self-published title was restored.
So Empty Bananas?
I was not asked to write this review, I did the cover based on my interpretation of the book, and loved it so much I asked Tom if he minded I write something about it in my author blog. Because it is a very good title.
The book begins in the English Canals, where a misunderstand changes Eds world view, and after some inspiration, he takes a trip to see West Africa. But this is not a book for tourists, you are in the Gambia, well and truly, with all its quirks, its ways so different to western society, rice balls, and people willing to give their beds for the chance of an education for their kids. But not only that, there is love, deep behind the crime of the more urban areas there is beautiful villages, with people you could just fall in love with…. As Ed does. True there are a few sexually explicit scenes, so its not a book for the young, but it is a delightful book that transports you to a world I never thought I would ever see. And I did. I even questioned if Ed was a real person. Since the book seemed so plausible, so real, I could imagine Tom writing down as he interviews Ed and sprinkling his perfect pros along its tale.
So to end I want to tell you a short story about when I drew the cover, Tom gave me free rein, I gave him ideas and his response was, I don’t have the imagination, make it as you think it should be. But I have to disagree with Tom, since his stories are so vivid, so real, I could walk into them. He has a whole country in that brain of his, and it’s amazingly thought out and truly worth the read. He has a huge imagination, and I want to read more.
Now book 2!
All proceeds from the sale of Empty Bananas will be donated to the Gambian Occasional Emergency Support – gambiagoes.blogspot.com