November 4th, 2010

Guest blog with author Tia Nevitt--cover art!

As some of you know, I do a guest book review from time to time on Tia Nevitt’s fabulous site, DEBUTS & REVIEWS. She is a terrific supporter of both new and established authors, and a great cheerleader for the writing community in general.

What you may not know is that Tia herself is an author. Her first book, THE SEVENFOLD SPELL,a completely original retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, has just come out from Carina Press in ebook form. Yay Tia! (Ahem.)

One of the things that fascinated me about this book was the cover. I mean, it’s an ebook, right? So why have a cover at all? And it is one of the most beautiful and eye-catching covers I have ever seen, to boot. So I asked Tia if she would come to my blog and talk about covers, and her experience.
Take it away, Tia:

A Cover Art Story

Over the summer, just after I finished the final copyedits for The Sevenfold Spell, I received an unexpected email. It contained what was called a “Carina Press Art Fact Sheet” and it was my chance to give input to my cover art. I had, of course, heard horror stories about cover art, but as in all other aspects of working with Carina Press and Harlequin, those stories did not apply.

I had no idea how much detail they wanted. So I erred on “overkill”.

The artist for my cover art is Frauke Spanuth, a German artist who runs a company called CrocoDesigns. She has a vast portfolio of cover art, print ads and websites.

Here are some direct quotes from that form that Frauke actually used.

“SETTING COMMENTS: I think a dark setting would work for this story, perhaps with some subtle fairy magic where appropriate. See the question on visual elements below for more details.”

And here is the section I referred to.

2) What interesting visual elements (either object or place) have great significance in this book?

The spinning wheel is the most important visual element, followed by the fairies’ spells.

From my research, I’ve learned that spindles aren’t particularly sharp. They are simply a thin dowel of wood with a base, which spins and collects the yarn onto a bobbin. If the spindle/bobbin assembly was partially empty, it would be possible to slam your hand through it only if accompanied by great force (which is what happens in my story).

This one has a visibly sharp spindle, but I’m not sure how historically accurate it is:

Fairy magic is an important visual element. I describe the fairy magic as the typical dancing sparks you’d see in a Disney movie. However, Disney overdoes it nowadays; I much prefer the vision of fairy magic from Fantasia. Here is a fairy working her magic from the Nutcracker sequence in Fantasia.

Check out the blooms of magic at the bottom of this image:

Love these understated magic effects:

Here’s another one with the fairies:

Frauke granted my wish when it came to the melancholy mood and the magic effects, and I just love the bobbin. The astronomical effects, the girl covered by the leaves, and the book all came from Frauke and the artistic team.

The open book along the bottom, in my mind, was an inspired idea. Aideen, who emailed me the cover, said that she envisioned it as a continuity look for future volumes. And when they had a big ad on Carina Press the week The Sevenfold Spell released, the book was a prominent element.

The cover was nothing like what I envisioned, but my first thought was that it was beautiful. And a lot of reviewers are having the same impression; many of them say that they just love the cover. One person said she saw it at Dear Author, and wanted to read it because she fell in love with the cover.

Therefore, the cover is doing its most important job—it is selling books.

Have you ever fallen in love with a cover and bought the book because you hoped the story within lived up to the promise without? In the comments, I’ll share about a book that disappointed me in this aspect.

Thanks for joining us, Tia!
Check her out at -- and don't forget to run out and get a copy of her book!