My first ten books have been stand-alone novels. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am coming out with my first series this year, called Tales From Ivy Hill. Book One, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill, releases in December.
One of the main reasons I am looking forward to trying my hand at writing a series is that it will allow me to stay in one place for awhile. I have often lamented that after I spend all the time to create a village (usually fictional but based on a real place) with history, traditions, estates, and a whole cast of characters, I don’t want to leave it after only one book. (And I’ve heard from some readers who don’t want to “leave” either!) So I’m really looking forward to staying in Ivy Hill for at least three books, not only for the location, but to spend more time with the characters I’ve already grown to love.
To celebrate this happy thought and my first-ever series, I thought it would be fun to have a map of the village inside the book, to help readers visualize Ivy Hill and keep track of the various buildings, landmarks, and streets as they read. With my publisher’s blessing and support, I found a great website featuring mapmakers for hire from all over the world. I had no idea there were so many talented cartographers out there.
We chose Bek Cruddace, who lives in England. (I liked the idea of working with a British mapmaker who would be familiar with things like coaching inns, manor houses, and ivy-covered cottages.) Bek is a designer and illustrator who specializes in hand-drawn, illustrated maps. The fact that she happens to live less than 50 miles from where I set the series is icing on the cake. 🙂
I sent her the rough, cut & paste map I had put together for my own reference as I wrote the book, along with a few photos and descriptions of the village and main buildings (coaching inn, church, cottage, two grand houses). She took it from there, adding her own charming style and so many creative, fun touches.
Without further ado, here is the black and white version of the map which will be printed in the book across two pages as shown. I love how it turned out!
What do you think? Have you read a book with a map in it before? If not, do you think it might be useful?