March 21, 2017
Hello Readers! Welcome to our stop during the Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller Blog Tour presented by Penguin Random House!
Today we have the authors talk about the love for the cover!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Her ship. His plan. Their survival.
Nev just started as the cargo hauler on the starship Kaitan Heritage. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person on Alaxak to have her own ship. She’s brassy and bold, and she tolerates no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. As for Nev, he’s actually a prince in hiding. He thinks Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, but when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, he resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.
Before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive. Nev’s mission to manipulate her becomes one to save her. To survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. Nev may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power of her own--and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.
For fans of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae, Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, and Star Wars, SHADOW RUN is an addictive, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.
The cover process for SHADOW RUN was a bit of a rollercoaster ride—with all the exciting twists, turns, and loop-de-loops that entails!
Michael and I had no idea what to expect going into this, nor any clue what our cover should or would look like. Sure, we took some guesses, but in the end, neither the first unused cover (yes, we had one of those), nor our final official cover were anything we anticipated. That being said, we love the end result!
Many of the developments with the cover were behind-the-scenes stuff we didn’t hear about until later, but here’s the general progression:
Our awesome editor at Delacorte, Kate Sullivan, wanted something suitably sci-fi for us, and so Raphael Lacoste came to mind, since he’s the artist behind the cover for the acclaimed WINDUP GIRL. So they commissioned him for SHADOW RUN. He sent them this first draft, which is a vista of the city Ranta from the book, which we described as having a central “downtown” of towering white spires, with a rusty and dirty outer city surrounding it:
While it’s an awesome picture, and really captures Ranta well, as Kate says, “This first one was stunning, full of detail true to the world, but we were missing a strong focal point and the human connection to our main characters, which is often really helpful in YA. And it wasn’t like WINDUP GIRL where you had that elephant/mammoth in front to contrast against the urban background, for intrigue.”
So, they tried to reframe the scene, and had Raphael zoom in and put two characters in the picture. This is the first possible cover that Michael and I saw:
Of course, when you see your cover, you get pretty excited. We were excited. The buildings and ships were awesome, the colors ethereal. But then, after a couple months, we found out the release date of SHADOW RUN had been pushed back. Why? They wanted the opportunity to revisit the cover.
See, because even if the art is pretty, that doesn’t necessarily mean it makes the best cover. We began to realize the cover lacked tension; there was nothing that hinted at all of the action inside; in the end, with these still figures, it was introspective. Also, it looked more like an adult sci-fi book than YA. And still, there was a problem with focus. As Kate says, “Even up close, we were struggling to find that one element that made you go, ‘Oooh, cool!’ And though we felt the artwork captured the city of Ranta perfectly, we kept getting comments that it looked like Dubai and not another planet. Maybe we were simply trying to show too much. It was hard not to do, when you had an artist like Raphael who was capable of such detail!”
Which I totally see, in retrospect. So, again, Michael and I waited. And in no time, we got this:
This was it. The One. Kirk Benshoff designed it, and he pegged it (and he would, seeing as he’s designed the covers for James S.A. Corey’sExpanse series, among others). Everyone we showed it to, from friends to family to random passersby on the street, gave us that elusive “Ooooh, cool!” Immediately, it posed a question—what was through the door? And it worked for everyone at our publisher, too. As Kate says, “It draws your eye straight in. It’s lonely; there’s an intrigue and a tension there. You know that this location doesn’t feel earthly, this architecture isn’t grounded.”
So! That’s the story behind our cover, and why we love it so much. The process was fun and fascinating, and we got to see some cool renditions of the world we’d created. But in the end, it was a tighter focus that we needed, and hopefully this mysterious, claustrophobic hallways sucks the reader right in before we, as the writers, even have the chance.
We can’t wait to show you what’s in store for Book Two’s cover. It’s seriously out of this world.
ADRIANNE STRICKLAND and MICHAEL MILLER met in their hometown of Palmer, Alaska, where they agreed on 99% of book taste and thus decided to write together. Adri spends her summers as a commercial fisherwoman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the rest of the year writing. Michael grew up off the grid in a homestead in Alaska and now works in IT and tech. This is their first book together. Visit them on Twitter, AdriAnne at @AdriAnneMS and Michael at @begemotike.
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