This is the tale of two covers: one that worked fine and one that blew my mind.
The first cover was nice. It was a man with a Peaky Blinders look and an air of confidence about him. Two angels faced one another behind his back. They were subtly shaded, one slightly darker than the other. The background was done in muted tones. Overall it was a very acceptable cover, but as my agent pointed out to me, the imagery didn't indicate anything specific about the story in a very dynamic way.
Usually authors don't have a lot of input on their cover art, but Harper Voyager is somewhat different in this respect. David [Pomerico] and I discussed the issues with the first comp, and he said they would come up with something different.
Meanwhile, I was working feverishly through his editorial notes on Where Oblivion Lives. David told me to go darker with the story if I wanted to, and on that final rewrite, I did. It all started with a comment David placed in one scene, and his sentence made me realize that I had missed a major opportunity with the story.
[Note to reader: this is why experienced editors are so wonderful. They point you in the right direction without telling you how to drive.]
We like to think of our heroes as being infallible, especially the supernatural ones. In some fiction, they go to war and return without any discernible trauma, while other stories deal very realistically with their characters and PTSD. Both ways of tackling this problem are as unique as the authors writing them.
So what if, I wondered after reading David's notes, what if Diago suffered from PTSD? And what if someone used his refusal to deal with his trauma as a weapon against him?
And while those thoughts aren't necessarily original, the way the whole concept played out in Los Nefilim's magic system, which relies on song and sound, came off splendidly.
So I expanded some scenes and strengthened others, adding roughly ten thousand words to the manuscript. I am exceptionally pleased with how the story finally emerged. I sent the manuscript back to David, and after I did, the good people at Harper Voyager came up with new cover art.
And I love it! It captures the surreal effect of Diago's nightmares, which are an on-going theme throughout the story. Here is the striking imagery that the first cover lacked, and it encompasses angels and broken nefilim and the dark sounds that follow them all.
Here is the blurb:
A lyrical historical fantasy adventure, set in 1932 Spain and Germany, that brings to life the world of the novellas collected in Los Nefilim: Spanish Nephilim battling daimons in a supernatural war to save humankind.
Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light.
As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness.
And for Diago, it will resurrect the anguish caused by a tragedy he experienced in a past life.
But someone—or something—is determined to stop Diago in his quest and will use his history to destroy him and the nefilim. Hearing his stolen Stradivarius played through the night, Diago is tormented by nightmares about his past life. Each incarnation strengthens the ties shared by the nefilim, whether those bonds are of love or hate ... or even betrayal.
To retrieve the violin, Diago must journey into enemy territory ... and face an old nemesis and a fallen angel bent on revenge.
I'll be talking more about the novel as we get closer to our publication date, because I'm excited about this book and series. [I know, I know ... you can't tell, can you?]
For those of you who loved the novellas:
Miquel, Rafael, Guillermo, and Ysabel are all back, as well. We also get to meet Guillermo's brother Jordi and his lover Nico.
In related news, I'm hard at work on the next book in the series: Carved from Stone and Dream.
I'm also lining up events for late 2018 and 2019. If you want to see where I'm going to be, you can check out my Events page at the website. It's not complete yet, so I'll be adding more as we get closer to 2019. I look forward to meeting some of you in real life.
Meanwhile, I hope you all have great summer.
Watch for me,