Francis Morgan's New Novel About Dragons In Down

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Up Above Down Below” is a product of a mind totally captivated by its subject. His debut novel aimed at the 14+ age range is centred around  The City of Crom which is located under the Mournes. It is a great underworld populated by thousands of dragons amidst the flames and fires and precious stones that we humans may but dream of. At the launch of “Up Above Down Below” at  The Lodge in Castlewellan there was no shortage of interest as the hundreds of interested parents with their children flocked in to enjoyed the festivities. Local band Paddy Morgan’s band Blastproof  Sunglasses headlined the entertainment and there was also some traditional session music on Sunday afternoon too as the visitors milled around enjoying the many framed colourful book’s original illustrations on show. [caption id="attachment_25867" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Georgia and Callum McKibbin from Castlewellan get their copy of Up Above Down Below signed by author Francis Morgan at the launch in The Lodge."][/caption] Children had their faces painted into wee dragons and others munched hog burgers. But Francie’s handiwork was everywhere. There were two mini-dragons greeting you at the front door of The Lodge, and the surreal animated monster festival street puppets were also lined up looking over the passing traffic on the main road creating a humorous, eye-catching and inviting effect. His work has appeared at major international public events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Special Olympics in Dublin and even in more local events such as in the Downpatrick St Patrick’s Parade Francie has made is mark entertaining the crowds with his bizarre characters. Francis Morgan is a man of many artistic talents who lives in Laitroim but is well know over the Castlewellan area and far beyond. Although he still occasionally indulges in the more traditional theatre set design that he worked on with his father, he has moved on and explored many artistic avenues and if any one word describes his style remotely it may be ‘eclectic’, or even ‘integrated’. He modestly said he had even dabbled in music. My partner Christine Jones and I were walking in the heart of the Mournes about ten years ago and one day we both spotted a small and very unusual creature who wriggled into a crevice in the rocks and disappeared beneath the mountain. Although I had been sitting on many on the creative ideas of the book for many years this incident of seeing the lizard certainly added to the whole experience and I started to sketch dragon creatures. “Christine has been a great help and is involved in helping with my art. She keeps the business end organised for me and generally assists. We will be running a competition with local children shortly to name our latest big dragon which should be fun. [caption id="attachment_25868" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Jordan and Aidan McDonald from Laitroim and Michael Magorrian from Castlewellan, centre, enjoyed the book launch of Up Above Down Below at The Lodge."][/caption] “But it took me the ten years to complete the 250-page work. The book itself weights about four pounds in weight and is designed in such a way that it is an experience to the readers… and listeners. The actual style of the story, the text, content and the colour of the illustrations is all important in the overall effect. “It took me three efforts to get the story line the way I wanted to. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing experience delving into a world of pure imagination. When I went to my publishers Nicholson and Bass in Belfast I went there dressed as a dragon. This hugely entertained the staff and a crowd gathered outside to welcome me. I have self-published the book in hard cover and have had 2000 copies printed off on a first run. Judging by the tremendous interest at the signing at the launch in Castlewellan it should sell very well. I’m absolutely delighted with this.” [caption id="attachment_25870" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Michael Kahla, Dylan McLaughlin and Spike Davis at the launch of Francis Morgan's fantasy novel 'Up Above Down Below' held at the Lodge in Castlewellan."][/caption] If there is one quality of many that struck me about Francis Morgan it was his overwhelming modesty. He is a great illustrator, painter, visual artist, a musician, theatre set artist and now… much much more, he is a master storyteller. He has crafted his book “Up Above Down Below”  tapping into his huge tapestry of experience and knowledge making this novel certainly a unique and very stimulating read. When I broached the subject of  him being the next… oops, I forgot, he does not want to be compared with other fantasy writers. Indeed he is unique in his approach and rightly so. Francis should not be measured against other writers mainly because his art is evolving, and he is after all more than just a writer. Log on to   www.upabovedownbelow.com to find out more. [caption id="attachment_25871" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="There were excellent attendances at the launch of Francis Morgan's fantasy novel Up Above Down Below held in The Lodge in Castlewellan. "][/caption] ]]>

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