Cover Reveal & Interview, Part 1 - Nandana's Mark by Heidi Garret

I am so excited to host the cover reveal of Nandana's Mark by author Heidi Garret, which will be released in August 2012. I met Heidi about a year ago at Online Writer's Workshop, and online critique forum for writers of science fiction and fantasy. (For those of you who are sci-fi / fantasy writers, I highly recommend this forum!) I immediately connected with Heidi's story, a dark retelling of a French fairy tale which stars a main character of half-human, half-faerie descent by the name of Melia. Heidi and I quickly became friends and have been critique buddies ever since.

This cover reveal will take place in two parts. Today you'll get to see Heidi's amazing cover by the artist WillowRaven, followed by an interview with WillowRaven herself. Tomorrow you'll get to see some additional full-color art from the story, along with an interview with Heidi. Both WillowRaven and Heidi will share a little bit about the collaborative process, as well as some tips for finding the ideal cover artist.

So here we go . . . Drumroll, please! The cover of Nandana's Mark:

About Nandana's Mark:

Melia has always wanted to fly, away.
From her two sisters, who’ve found their place in the Enchanted World, despite being half-faeries with no wings.
From her mother, the full blooded faerie who practices black magic, and weeps every night when she thinks her daughters aren’t listening.
But mostly from her father, the mortal druid who broke his faerie troth, and lives to reunite with Melia’s mother. He believes incarnating Umbra—the one entity everyone in the Enchanted World fears—will give him the power to return to the Realm of Faerie.
But Melia comprehends the horror of Umbra far better than her father ever will.
Umbra seduces.
Umbra corrupts.
And Umbra destroys.
When her best friend—a pixie named Tatou—urges Melia to turn to the mysterious Illustrator for help, she gives Melia the courage to challenge her father.
As secrets are revealed and a family’s dark legacy spins out of control, Melia’s wish to fly comes true.
It’s just not quite what she expected.

And now, for the interview with the amazing WillowRaven!

1. Please tell us about yourself as an artist, and what your specialties are.

I am a formally trained fine artist. I specialize in book cover art and illustration for a wide range of genres. I work in both traditional and digital mediums in a variety of styles.

2. What was your process for translating Heidi's story into illustrated art?

My main tool was close communication with Heidi. I rely on the person who knows the setting and characters best to invoke images in my head, which I in turn, interpret visually. So, we chatted via Live Chat on my website, and email, and discussed in detail the look of her characters and the world they live in. Heidi provided me with a few key scenes, which also helped.

3. What's the best part about collaborating with authors? What's the most challenging part?

The best part: I get a wide exposure to some awesome manuscripts. The most challenging part: trying to deal with the occasional difficult author. Some authors try putting their entire book on the cover. Some expect unreasonable results or timelines. Heidi, however, was a dream to work with.

4. If you were going to post an "Cover Artist Seeking Authors" wanted ad, what would it say?

Hmmm ... "Seeking authors of amazing worlds, dynamic characters, and fascinating plots. Formally trained, award winning artist ready for hire want's to help bring your book to life." Too corny? ... lol

5. What advice would you give to inside authors out there looking for cover artists?

Do your research, be selective, and don't compromise. Market research shows 70% of book sales have the cover to thank. Remember that when you start looking for a cover artist. Also, be aware that a cover artist and a cover designer are two very different things, two completely different skill sets. Cover artists normally create original art works, cover designers normally manipulate stock imagery. Cover art is typically more expensive, but original. Cover design is less costly but more likely to make your book resemble every other book on a shelf.

If you find an artist's work you like, make sure they have a positive track record (a significant, track-able work history), engage in communication (helps build trust), keep all records of emails, chats, and invoices/payments (avoid phone conversations because there is no written way to verify agreements). Lastly, I know budgets can have a heavy bearing as to who one hires. The more artists you look at, the better your chances are at finding an artist you not only like, but feel worth the money your investing in your book. This book is your baby. You've worked hard to give it the perfect body. Don't compromise by going cheap on the cover if the work doesn't move you. Your book deserves a perfect face to compliment it's perfect body.

Stay tuned for the Part 2 of Nandana's Mark cover reveal!