The Shroud is an overarching term for an Urban Fantasy (modern day magic) world I’ve built over several years. Instead of borrowing from Lord of the Rings and other wholly respectable Sword and Sorcery worlds, I filch my creatures and motifs from folk tales, mythology and twist them to the Shroud’s needs.
I always thought that if the arcane lived on in today’s world, the folks who’d bear witness would be the freaks, the degenerates. Kids on acid, homeless folks on hard times or hard dope. The people who live between the cracks who no one gives their attention.
Building the Shroud has taken a lifetime of failed projects. I’ve written untold summaries and at least four novels to discover this line I could hide heroes and villains behind. More importantly, it took watching morality develop and change. Experiencing shame. Winning fights, and sobbing because it was my friend I beat down. Didn’t matter he was wrong. There aren’t many absolute heroes and villains, and not many more absolute values.
Pulling back the Shroud is my constant joy and constant labor. Every day I struggle with where the line lies between the real world and one I’ve built. That struggle mirrors in what my characters tackle, and what everyone faces in conflict.
Fantasy, like science fiction, takes the context of life and twists, giving us a new vantage point to understand our lives. That’s the Shroud.
Ian Humphrey lives in Austin, TX. He’s unpublished for the moment. Contact him at Ian.Humphrey.Fictional@gmail.com.