Tuesday, 8 February 2011

I can’t tell you how excited I was on 1st February to see my novel’s cover finally displayed to the world. I was easily as excited as the day Rhemalda Publishing told me they loved King’s Envoy and wanted to publish it. Much hard work has gone into this cover, both in the concept and design stages, and much worry too! Eve Ventrue, the artist, did a fine job of bringing my imagination to life, and skillfully handled all my nervous questions and requests for changing this or that. I am immensely pleased with the final result, and must give thanks and credit to Eve for her expertise, and to Rhett of Rhemalda for helping me decide on the image.
I have to say that designing the cover was harder than I thought it would be. I guess that’s mostly because I’d grown used to thinking of the book in terms of the temporary cover I created for the peer-critique website, Authonomy. King’s Envoy made its debut on Authonomy back in September 2008. The site provided generic “book covers” which writers were free to use, or they could design and upload their own. As I’m no good with design programs, it took me a while to come up with something I liked. I decided the cover should portray the rank-badge of the King’s envoy, which is a shooting star, but I couldn’t find a suitable image. When my efforts to draw one proved similarly inadequate, I used a simple star instead, and placed a blue border around it. Although it wasn’t exactly as I wanted it, this blue “cover” came to represent the novel in my mind whenever I thought about it.
Much as I liked it, I always had my doubts that this concept was suitable for a “proper” cover. When I came to discuss it with Rhett, I realized and accepted that the book needed a completely new image. That blue-bordered star, however, resisted my efforts to dislodge it, and I had a hard time trying to pick a different image to portray the story. I like a book’s cover to relate to the title, and for reasons you will only understand if you read the book (hint hint!), this proved difficult. It also had to be an image that would appeal to both male and female readers, because King’s Envoy, indeed the entire Artesans of Albia series, is intended for readers of both sexes. The image that Rhett and I came up with, and Eve so beautifully brought to life is, I think, both dramatic and compelling. No one could be in any doubt that this is a fantasy novel, and I hope the cover raises sufficient questions to tempt a reader into picking it up.
The image went through several transformations before finally settling into its present form and we tried various poses and angles. I was becoming worried because none of them were speaking to me, and I really wanted to feel a deep connection to this image. Then we tried the final angle, and I can’t remember now whose idea it was to swing the perspective round. As soon as I saw the image from that angle, I thought – Wow! That’s what I was looking for.

I hope it appeals to you as much as it does to me. If you like it, why not read the book and discover the hopes, dreams, frustrations, shame and desperation contained within this striking cover?

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