Flashback: June 13, 2008

Tonight I should be getting back to Michigan at ridiculously late o’clock. I plan on giving myself at least a day to recover before trying to catch up on email or share pics and tales of Melbourne and all of that. Plus it will take me a little while to get used to standing on this side of the world after spending the past ten days upside down. So in the meantime, have a rerun from 2008.


Yesterday was apparently the day for cover sketches. First up, sonyamsipes passed along the rough sketches for the CatsCurious Faery Taile Project covers. They’re not colored yet, but I like what I’ve seen. Sadly, I can’t share it yet, but I can direct you to the artist’s web gallery, which has some of her work. I did show the sketches to my three-year-old son, who immediately identified Red Riding Hood even though there’s no red. He’s a smart boy 🙂

And then later on, my editor at DAW e-mailed me the sketch for The Stepsister Scheme, asking what I thought.

Before I go any further, I should point out that both of these editors asked for feedback, and neither one was under any obligation to do so. The thing is, authors are good with words. We may or may not be good with visual art. Even if we are, our priorities tend to be different than the publishers’. We like everything to be perfect and exactly representative of our work. The publisher wants a cover that will impress the buyers at the chain stores, and will make readers pick up and buy the book.

Look at the cover of Goblin Quest [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy]. At no time would Jig actually stand up to Straum the dragon like that. But the art does a great job of capturing the book’s feel, and it’s good enough to make people pick it up and look closer.

So I’m grateful to both of my editors for inviting me into this part of the process. That doesn’t always happen, and I try not to abuse their invitation by being a total jerk. For Stepsister, I put together four specific comments, at least one of which I suspect isn’t going to happen because it would be too major of a change. Each one was along the lines of, “I think this detail could be changed, and here are the reasons I think this is important.” My editor actually agreed with me on all of them, so I’m hopeful at least some of those changes will happen.

The artwork itself is fun, and captures a little of the Charlie’s Angels feel of the book. It’s certainly a different style than on the goblin books. The sketch, while unfinished, almost had an anime feel to it. Not what I had imagined, but I could see it working quite well, especially with how popular anime is these days. Danielle is my favorite by far. I had described her sword, which has a hazel-tree theme to the hilt, and the artist ran with that.

One of my favorite details — I talked to my editor about using a picture of my daughter as “inspiration” for Talia. She wasn’t sure, but said to go ahead and pass a pic along and we’d see what happened. The artist used the picture. It’s not my daughter, but if you’ve met her, you can see her in Talia. The book is going to be dedicated to her, and now she’ll (kind of) be on the cover as well. (I did ask her how she felt about this before talking to my editor. She said it was fine, but I think she got a little shy when she saw the sketch.)

I love this part of the process, actually seeing these characters as images rather than words on the page. It’s one step closer to being a real book! I can’t wait to see the finished covers, and to share them with you all.