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  • Writer's pictureIan Ayris

A Tale of Three Covers

With the publication of Everybody Hurts, the John Sissons Trilogy is now complete.

Just as I wrote the first in the trilogy – Abide With Me – a chapter at a time, not knowing what the next chapter was going to be, so I wrote each novel, not intending there to be another.

I have found it difficult to encapsulate the why of these books, only to say that in the writing of them I have found some peace and a measure of emotional understanding of myself.

For me, each novel in the series is intensely personal. I have long known John’s emotional journey echoed my own. There are passages in all three books I am unable to read aloud without tears coming to my eyes and my throat seizing up.

It’s just how it is.

In my head, I have always looked at the different emotional challenge John faces in the three novels as a way of making sense of their connection – one to another.

In Abide With Me, John is on the outside looking in as his life, and the lives of his friends and family, play out before his eyes. Even in the direst, most desperate circumstances he is unable to make a difference.

In April Skies – the second in the series – John has no choice but to face his fears and challenge life head on. When there is so much at stake, and no-one else to turn to, you do it or you don’t. In April Skies, John does.

In Everybody Hurts John learns, even if you face it head on, life will do what it will. Life will be cruel and life will be heartless – and often there is nothing you can do about it. This is the challenge John faces in the final novel.

The brilliant Fahrenheit Press covers for each of the novels has allowed me to see much clearer the different qualities of each novel – what distinguishes them from eachother.

The cover for Abide With Me is sentimental, harking back to a jumpers for goalposts childhood that will be forever rose-tinted in John’s mind.

The April Skies cover is brutal. As is the novel.

The covers for the first two novels are highly stylised symbols expressing the nature of both books.

And then came Everybody Hurts.

The cover for Everybody Hurts is not symbolic. It is a picture of human frailty, of loss, of desolation. It is as if the twin layers of sentimentality and brutal reality of the first two novels have been stripped away to reveal the searing vulnerabilityy lies beneath.

I am unsure as to what Everybody Hurts means for me. But I do know in the writing of the final paragraph I reached a place where I finally understand why I wrote the entire trilogy. And that final paragraph I will never be able to read aloud without tears streaming down my face.

All three books in the John Sissons Trilogy are available in paperback and Kindle versions direct from the Fahrenheit Press store:

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A very special announcement . . .

I have just signed a contract with the brilliant FAHRENEHIT PRESS. FAHRENHEIT will be re-launching Abide With Me and April skies soon, and later in the year will be publishng the third in the John Sis


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