TODAY, I'm turning my focus on the book that led me to Splashdown Books in the first place. The Muse, by Fred Warren. It was Fred's story "Angel Wings" at Digital Dragon Magazine that introduced me to his writing, and I immediately bought The Muse as a result. So, Fred, I owe it all to you, man.
OK--on to the cover art!
I got the details from Grace Bridges, owner and head honcho at Splashdown.
Grace wanted something striking and unique, and opted for a black background to start. Then, as she said, she "messed around" until she got a "suitably spooky glowy text," which shows up quite vividly against the black:
Here are Grace's exact words on the next step, as posted in a blog of her own, back when she was actually going through the process:
"Next I really wanted a picture of Stan, the main character. But who could it be? The answer turned out to be quite close to home, as I ended up photographing none other than my own brother when he came to town for a visit. My housemate at that time happens to own a wonderful fantasy sword, and things just came together after that. Over there you see one pic of many taken during that photo shoot. I was up on the veranda with the camera, and Andrew was down on the driveway so I could get that oblique angle. The black sheet was an aid to later pasting "Stan" onto my mostly black background."
And then with a textured background:
But, ultimately, Grace decided to mess around with the glowy eyes again, enlarging it and making it into a spiral. Here's how it turned out, on the final cover:
All of this, she said, was done in consultation with Fred. And to prove she's on the up and up about that, here's Fred's impression of the process, in his own words:
Remember me going on about the teamwork aspect? I'm not the only one who believes in that!
So, there you have it. I'll admit, I didn't give a lot of thought to the cover when I first bought the book (other than, "dude, that is some hair") because I knew what was important to me was the writing on the inside. But now that I have read the book, and learned about the cover design process, I see how this all ties together. The Muse is a fun book, with vivid characters and a bit of a wild ride in parts. The cover does capture that mood. Do yourself a favor--if you haven't read any of the books I've featured so far, start where I did.