Letters From The Labyrinth
Get monthly illustrated and personalised letters that build into an epic fantasy adventure story.
Letters From The Labyrinth
Get monthly illustrated and personalised letters that build into an epic fantasy adventure story.
A Fantasy Mail Adventure from Britain's Most Extraordinary Home
Hey, lovers of fantasy, history and adventure! I’m author John Tarrow and I want to reintroduce you to the joy of receiving letters through the post. But these are not just ordinary letters. These are monthly illustrated and personalised correspondence that builds into an epic fantasy adventure story. It’s good old-fashioned mail, just posted from the extraordinary world of Talliston.
Sent on the night of the dark of the moon when all the doors to the Talliston labyrinth open, every month you will receive a letter from your friend lost in the labyrinth of Britain’s most extraordinary home.
Written by author John Tarrow, experience the delight of receiving beautiful personalised letters from the mysterious Talliston labyrinth. Each one is set in one of Talliston’s thirteen rooms, continuing and enhancing the story of The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston.
There is a different letter each month and together build into a complete adventure. Choose one, three, nine or all twelve months of letters – and every year’s subscription includes a thirteenth letter with bonus maps and secrets.
It's the perfect gift for the fantasy reader in your life.
Hidden inside the apparently ordinary house in its ordinary street lies a labyrinth of doors into some quite extraordinary rooms. These are the locations you'll be visiting on your journey through the letters of the story.
INTRODUCING THE LETTERS
Here is a brief look at the opening setting for the letters, introducing how you become involved in the story – and why you are receiving these strange and mysterious packages every dark of the moon.
DEAD OF THE MOON (MIDNIGHT)
THE WEREHOUSE : GREAT DUNMOW, ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM
It was supposed to be just a game. A bit of scary fun. A lark. Every kid in the town knew the place as The Werehouse. They also knew the terrifying double dare linked to it; if you entered on the night of the dark of the moon and placed your hand upon the cursed stone; if you spoke the rhyme and walked into the empty house; if you did all these things, then you would never be seen again. The rhyme had a sinister name. It was called The Malison. In the playgrounds children sang its words while skipping, or shouted them as warnings. But this was OK. This was outside. The words had no power there. But within the shadow of that dark, derelict house, within those dangerous, desolate gardens, that was another thing altogether...
THE INCREDIBLE ARTWORK OF THE LETTERS
Though the story of the letters is filled with wild adventures, a big part of the wonder of receiving the letters is owning such beautifully illustrated pieces of art. Each letter has its own hand painted watercolour by Rebecca Solow. Here we discover how each piece is taken through several stages of development, from brief, concept, sketch, drawing and painting.
The letter for October is The Old Rectory, where in 1884 the gardener Tobias Crowe is constructing a new formal garden and vegetable patch for the reverend. During the preliminary digging an ancient earth-fast stone is discovered – upon its face a carved labyrinth set with thirteen mysterious holes.
The first stage of the artwork was deciding upon the composition of the illustration. Here are two of the initial sketches.
After the initial sketch was decided, Rebecca set out to capture the detail, characters and setting in pen and ink.
Along with the main illustration, borders and the all-important magical doorway into each particular location were developed.
Then, using a colour scheme reflecting the seasons and elements of each artwork, until finally the finished watercolour emerges. Here is the watermarked final image...
- One Letter From The Labyrinth
A single story sent to you or as a surprise gift to another. This will include the prologue setting, introduction to the story and one letter consisting of opening full colour artwork, plus the letter itself. Sent unfolded, in hardback envelope with external illustrated label.
- Three Letters From The Labyrinth 10% off individual letter price
Three-month subscription to the story, equating to 10% off the individual letter price. This will include the prologue setting, introduction to the story and three letters sent monthly on the dark of the moon.
- Six Letters From The Labyrinth 20% off
Six-month subscription to the story, equating to 20% off the individual letter price. This will include the prologue setting, introduction to the story and six letters sent monthly on the dark of the moon.
- Nine Letters From The Labyrinth 25% off
Nine-month subscription to the story, equating to 25% off the individual letter price. This will include the prologue setting, introduction to the story and nine letters sent monthly on the dark of the moon.
- Thirteen Letters From The Labyrinth 30% off
An entire year’s subscription to the story, equating to 30% off the individual letter price. This will include the prologue setting, introduction to the story, twelve letters sent monthly on the dark of the moon – PLUS! an exclusive Thirteenth Letter, containing the epilogue and thrilling finalé to the story.
HIGHER PLEDGE LEVELS
• Letter From The Labyrinth Fine Art Print
Giclée fine art A4 print of your choice of one of Rebecca Solow’s beautiful watercolour artworks created for the story. These illustrations are framed with a hand drawn border featuring other elements of the location, plus have all letter text removed Giclée printing is one of the best print reproduction methods available, having a style and finesse loved by illustrators, painters and photographers. A list of images will be sent at the end of the Kickstarter to choose your fine art print.
• Fine Art Print and Book of Days
Giclée fine art A4 print of your choice of one of Rebecca Solow’s beautiful watercolour artworks, plus a copy of The Talliston Book of Days, a thirteen-month almanack charting all the times and places of the house and gardens in glorious full colour. Featuring stunning images by GilesG Photography, this A4 wall mounted calendar charts each of the locations in the Talliston labyrinth. 25 available.
• Fine Art Print and Room Atlas
Giclée fine art A4 print of your choice of one of Rebecca Solow’s beautiful watercolour artworks, plus a copy of a special edition of The Talliston Room Atlas, a limited edition companion guide through the magical labyrinth of Talliston house & gardens, charting each location as a 36-page premium magazine. Every large-format page is packed with beautifully rendered full and double page colour photographs, captured by award-winning photographer, Gavin Conlan. 25 available.
• Fine Art Print and Room Map
Giclée fine art A4 print of your choice of one of Rebecca Solow’s beautiful watercolour artworks, plus an illustrated room map of the entire magical labyrinth of Talliston house & gardens, capturing each location in an A3 (29.7cm x 42cm / 11.7” x 16.5”) poster, beautifully illustrating the rectory gardens and each of the times and places within. Every map is packed with hand-drawn objects and details, captured by artist and illustrator, Jon Harris, on 150gsm Accent Antique Silk paper stock. Sent in a rolled tube. 50 available.
• Fine Art Print and Floorplans
Giclée fine art A4 print of your choice of one of Rebecca Solow’s beautiful watercolour artworks, plus a set of companion floorplans, maps and timeline of Talliston house & gardens, charting each location as an A0 (84cm x 119cm / 33” x 47”) poster, packed with hand-drawn architectural detail, painstakingly captured by architect, Sam N. Davey, on a heavy-weight (150gsm) stock in brilliant white. Sent in a rolled tube. 50 available.
• Fine Art Print and Hand carved Labyrinth
Giclée fine art A4 print of your choice of one of Rebecca Solow’s beautiful watercolour artworks, plus a slate labyrinth, hand carved in the Scottish borders by Hatch Burn Carve artist, Martin Wilson. This unique design is taken from the original on the Talliston standing stone. 5 available.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE LETTERS: THE HOUSE
The inspiration for the letters is a real-life house called Talliston, a 25-year project that took the UK’s most ordinary house and transformed it, room by room, by ordinary people on an ordinary budget, into Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home. Starting as a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex, today not a single square centimetre of the original house remains. In its place is an extraordinary labyrinth of locations, each set in different times and places.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE LETTERS: THE BOOK
In Summer 2019, the young adult fantasy novel set inside a unique and amazing house and gardens will be published in hardback, ebook and limited edition formats.
Equal parts A Monster Calls, His Dark Materials and The Lion, Witch And The Wardrobe, The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston is a classic tale of adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians lies the story of children discovering the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.
Letters From The Labyrinth is a complementary work, both sequel, prequel and standalone story exploring the thirteen locations of the house and novel. While not essential to enjoying the letters, it makes a wonderful accompaniment to these new adventures – and can be read before, during or after your subscription.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Tarrow was born in London and spent his childhood with a Smith-Corona Calypso typewriter and a wild imagination, both of which he still owns. Now a novelist, poet, storyteller and award-winning writer, his fascination with folk and faerie tales has taken him around the world, gathering threads of story and legend to weave into his own mythologies. His extensive studies in Lakota Sioux and Druidic traditions offer readers stories resonant with magic, folklore and the wonders of the natural world.
As creative lead at Talliston House & Gardens, John's transformation of the house and gardens showcases his ability to design extraordinary locations in the most ordinary of places. Using objects sourced worldwide, these spaces tell incredibly powerful and timeless stories.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Rebecca Solow is an illustrator of children's books, young adult book covers, and magazine stories with an impressive list of clients. She also designs characters for games and concept art for films. Rebecca primarily paints traditionally in mixed media. She received both her BFA and her MFA in Illustration from the Hartford Art School. She enjoys bringing all sorts of stories into visual life, and has a special interest in folk tales and any story with strong and positive female characters.
Here are the milestones for the project.
- APRIL 2019: Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and preorder subscriptions
- MAY / JUNE 2019: Creation of the final artwork, printing and creating everything required for launch
- 1st JULY 2019: Official launch date of Letters From The Labyrinth.
- 2nd JULY 2019: First Dark of the Moon mailing date, followed by 1 August 2019, 28 September 2019, 28 October 2019, etc.
WHERE THE FUNDS WILL GO
There are three costs for this project:
- Payment for the 13 watercolour illustrations to the artist
- Top quality printing of the letters for initial launch of the project (13 x gicleé fine art prints, 13 x 4-page letters and associated correspondence)
- Packaging for the letters (pristine white hardback envelopes, calligraphy typeface labels, story literature, etc.)
COST COMPARISON OF THE DIFFERENT SUBSCRIPTIONS
- ONE LETTER : £10.00 per letter | £10.00 (£9.00 per letter + £1.00 p&p)
- THREE LETTERS : 10% off individual letter price | £9.00 per letter | £27.00 (£7.67 per letter + £3.99 p&p)
- SIX LETERS : 20% off | £8.00 per letter | £48.00 (£6.84 per letter + £6.99 p&p)
- NINE LETTERS : 25% off | £7.50 per letter | £67.50 (£6.39 per letter + £9.99 p&p)
- ALL TWELVE LETTERS : 30% off | £84.00 (£5.92 per letter + £12.99 p&p) PLUS: exclusive Thirteenth Letter and bonuses!
THE THIRTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS: Same Locations | Different Moments
- LETTER #1: Discovering more of the mysterious Earth-fast Stone
The Labyrinth | 1st Moon: Hunter’s Moon (Of Man) | Wednesday 13 October 1852 | 00:01:37 | The Old Rectory | Great Dunmow, Essex, United Kingdom
- LETTER #2 | Coming face to face with the God of Time in ancient Italy
The Hall of Mirrors | Hall & stairs | Water | Dark | Autumn | 2nd Moon: Blood Moon (Of Man) | Monday 3 November 64BC | 01:54:28 | The Oracle of Saturn
- LETTER #3 | Battle in Snowdonia for a Wizard’s Tower
The Watchtower | Living & dining room | Fire | Dark | Autumn | 3rd Moon: Raven Moon (Of Birds) | Monday 25 December 1848 | 20:32:55 | The Mead Hall of Twr-â-Gân (The Tower of Song)
- LETTER #4 | Hoodoo and Hauntings in the New Orleans bayou
The Voodoo Kitchen | Kitchen extension | Earth | Dark | Winter | 4th Moon: Wolf Moon (Of Beasts) | Saturday 17 January 1874 | 23:18:05 | Manse L’Estrange
- LETTER #5 | Exploring a Viking settlement in Greenland
The Boathouse | Bathroom | Water | Dark | Winter | 5th Moon: Snow Moon (Of Nature: Sea) | Saturday 23 February 999 | 11:07:35 | The Leiðarstjarna (The Lodestar)
- LETTER #6 | A Time of Legend with the Highkings of Ireland
The Fountain Courtyard | Back garden | Water | Dark | Winter | 6th Moon: Eagle Moon (Of Birds) | Tuesday 8 March 433 | 09:42:31 | Tigh Samhraidh (Summerhouse Cottage)
- LETTER #7 | Wilderness Adventures in the Wilds of Saskatchewan
The Cabin | Garden shed | Earth | Dark/Light | Winter/Spring | 7th Moon: Storm Moon (Of Nature: Land) | Friday 13 April 1934 | 13:07:05 | Wisakedjak Lodge (Whiskey-Jack Lodge)
- LETTER #8 | Arrival in the Far Future at a Temple in Japan
The Starhouse | Conservatory | Air | Light | Spring | 8th Moon: Hare Moon (Of Beasts) | Monday 8 May 2282 | 06:45:02 | The Waystation at Tzu
- LETTER #9 | Photographs and Poltergeists in an Abandoned Scottish mansion
The Haunted Bedroom | Master bedroom | Fire | Light | Spring | 9th Moon: Thunder Moon (Of Nature: Sky) | Tuesday 27 June 1995 | 19:19:06 | Ravnsbrae Manor
- LETTER #10 | Arabian Adventures in the Alhambra Palace
The Room of Dreams | 10th Moon: Honey Moon (Of Man) | Friday 9 July 1526 | 16:15:03 | Eish Al Kamar (The Moon’s Nest)
- LETTER #11 | Fire and Fantasy at the Dreamland Park in Twenties New York
The Office | 11th Moon: Owl Moon (Of Birds) | Thursday 24 August 1929 | 21:18:09 | Trevelyan Vean
- LETTER #12 | Unearthing the Secrets of Jungle temples
The Treehouse Sanctuary | 12th Moon: Stag Moon (Of Beasts) | Sunday 30 September 1959 | 18:17:51 | San Phra Phum (The House of the Spirits)
- LETTER #13 | The Lost Room | 13th Moon: Oak Moon (Tree of Life/Night) | Now
A FINAL WORD FROM JOHN TARROW
“Talliston is an incredible example of what can be accomplished with the power of pure imagination. And I wanted these letters to capture what it’s like to step from the ordinary world into the extraordinary.”
“I want these words and illustrations to delight, challenge and inspire children and adults alike – and show that the world of our dreams can be found in the most unlikely of places.”
I hope you’ll pledge to bring to life this new and exciting chapter in the Talliston adventure...
Risks and challenges
The first six pieces of artwork are commissioned, but there could be publishing or manufacturing delays on the final seven letters if our Kickstarter funding is not reached. We will keep all Kickstarter participants informed about the publication and shipping process throughout – and we do have six months to find additional funding for the final artwork.
Though our aim is for the launch of the Letters From The Labyrinth to commence to the included timeframe, this may be delayed until the following dark of the moon if printing and / or distribution is unaccountably delayed. That said, we have our printer chosen, our printing costed and funds enough for the initial launch.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)