So, I’ve been sitting on the ebook edition of my novel for a couple of weeks, waiting for the completion of a front cover design I was pleased with. Now that the waiting is finally over, I am seriously contemplating having the book published sometime next week. I will probably make up my mind first thing tomorrow as to whether to do so, or hold off for a little while longer.
In the interim, it is finally time to provide the first details of my upcoming debut fantasy novel. Let’s begin with the title; I can now reveal that my book is called The Exercise Of Vital Powers. Those of you who are fans of the science fiction TV series, Babylon 5, will recall that this is the name given to the 16th episode of season 4, though there are very few other similarities between the show and my novel. As a title for a book, what I like about it is that it’s both catchy and memorable, while being simultaneously ambiguous; it gives nothing away in regard to the actual plot of the book. I hope it will also help my novel stand out from the crowd as (to the best of my knowledge) no other novel has been given this title.
I don’t recall at what point during writing the novel I settled upon the name, but I do remember feeling it really captured the essence of the story I was telling, so once the title came to mind I was never going to call the finished book anything else. For those of you wondering where this title originally comes from, it is taken from a quote that is frequently attributed to Greek philosopher, Aristotle, though it seems to be a much more recent quote from Edith Hamilton. The full quote is, “Happiness is the exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope.” To my mind the words seemed to describe my protagonist and her journey in my story; and perhaps that, more than anything else, inspired the decision to opt for the title.
Moving on to what the novel is about; as I hope the name suggests, the plot is centred around the theme of power, more specifically the danger of misusing and abusing power for personal gain. In some ways it can be viewed as a cautionary tale that calls to mind the well known sentiment, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The book’s protagonist is a young woman who possesses a great power that can bring tremendous benefit if used responsibly for altruistic reasons, or bring devastating harm if used irresponsibly for self-serving motives. The Exercise Of Vital Powers tells the story of this young woman reaching a crossroad in her life where she has to make a choice between the two.
I’m not going to give anything more away about the story in this post, but to give you an idea whether or not my novel will appeal to you, I can tell you that the story endeavours to be more character driven than action driven. I would also love to say it is reminiscent of the works of Jacqueline Carey and Guy Gavriel Kay but sadly it isn’t true; I’m not at that level yet. However, my expectation is that my novel will appeal to readers who have previously enjoyed the work of James Clemens, Trudi Canavan and Anthony Ryan. Make of that what you will.
More information about my debut novel will be forthcoming in the days ahead, so keep your eyes open.