“The English landscape and knights on horseback dressed in their heraldric colors were one of the first things I remember loving as a child,” recounts Josh. “And when I realized I could write stories of my own, a ‘knight story’ was at the top of the list.”
Markus is an English knight hiding from God and his past. The noble Hospitaller, Sir Charle, and the woman of Markus’s heart, Lady Máirín, try to slow Markus’s downward spiral to despair. A letter left by a slain mentor acts as the calling that Markus must return to the Land of Christ, and his failures. There he will determine whether God means to set his conscience free from the weight of his burdens and restore him, or if he must sacrifice himself to attain his absolution.
Music was another major force behind figuring out the central plot of Stitched Crosses. “I was channel surfing one evening and I happened upon a performance by a group called Celtic Woman. It was just in time to hear one of the women sing a song called ‘The Soft Goodbye’–it is probably one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, and it struck me immediately as the perfect foundation for the story. My creativity is often triggered by music. Bebo Norman, Kutless, Jim Byrnes, Casting Crowns, selections from Creed’s Weathered, and film scores also helped me to naturally figure out the main [plot].”
As with most of Grail Quest Books’ projects, Josh assembled the art team led by penciller Paul Cox (pencils) for the Stitched Crosses comic series. “There are so many great undiscovered or non-mainstream artists out there that deserve to be seen. Even if we could contract [any artist in the industry]–and there are a handful we hope to work with–we are thrilled to help aspiring artists working to get a foothold. Afterall, it is these artists who are helping us to achieve our initial publishing goals, and words cannot describe our gratitude. We are all together in this.”
Despite being set in the waning days of the 12th Century, the challenges faced by the characters of faith in doubt, and a world in turmoil, are as relevant today as any other. As Christendom makes a push to retake Outremer from Saladin’s Muslim forces, historical events and exciting period action serve as the canvas to this story of one knight wrestling with his spirit. Stitched Crosses will be released as a novel and four-part limited comics series.
UPDATE: This story is also being adapted into a fully casted audio drama late Spring 2010!