In Search of Leo, my debut novella, (now available for pre-order on Kindle) is the story of a girl named Heidi who thinks her golden retriever Leo has run off into the woods, and she sets out in search of him. The book is as much about my writing journey as it is about Heidi’s quest for her missing dog. My peregrinations through this world of writing and self-publishing have only just begun though it has taken years to get to this starting line.
But two magnificent phenomena have already happened to this story so far. One is the wonderful Sarah Chorn who helped mould this story into its present form, making sure all the pieces of the jigsaw fell into their right places and stayed put. The final story, as a result, is far more wondrous than I had ever believed it could possibly be.
The other is the amazing Pen Astridge, who has concocted this beautiful image of Heidi and her quest. Behold the ebook cover for In Search of Leo!
I simply can’t get over how, based on the exchange of a few FB messages, Sydney, Australia-based Pen has brought Heidi to life, a feat that has taken me nearly 23,000 words to accomplish, not counting the words written and erased and rewritten over multiple drafts.
I had envisaged Heidi as a small silhouette, feeling small and lost, facing a vast landscape that she must travel in search of Leo. The only other factor I had emphasized to Pen was that In Search of Leo is a ‘soft’ story. A story about a girl and her raw feelings and emotions, and how she tries to cope with them. So I wanted the cover to bear a dreamlike, whimsical quality.
And when Pen sent me this image of surreal beauty, all I could respond with was “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow, …” I am still spellbound by the whole process of artistic creation. A few questions from her end. A few responses from mine. It was as if she took a leisurely stroll in my head one evening, then disappeared into the shadows to cast her spells, and re-emerged with this picture and showed me that the world of Heidi is, in fact, much more beautiful than I had even dared to hope. I am ecstatic for Heidi.
Here’s what Pen says about her work. “When Anitha approached me with a synopsis of In Search of Leo I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a part of it. Her story gave me the opportunity to play with a world of hope and dreams and I was able to create something very different to my usual dark drama pieces. From my initial mood boarding, referencing and reviewing of key story assets to my final polishing, tweaks and adjustments, I was very happy with the end-result and am hopeful that it will do the story justice.”
Oh, Pen! I hope the story will do your image justice. I think you know how to make angels dance.
About In Search Of Leo: This is the story of a girl named Heidi who thinks her golden retriever Leo has run off into the woods, and she sets out in search of him. She meets a bunch of fantastic characters who seem intent on keeping Leo’s whereabouts a mystery but, at the same time, reveal to Heidi more about herself than about Leo. Where will her journey lead her? To Leo? Or to some other unexpected destination?
In Search of Leo will be published on 18 January 2018 i.e. the day after tomorrow! Yikes!
It is now available for pre-order on Kindle.
Snippets from the book are also available on Instagram and on Facebook.