Yesterday we got to see the amazing cover art by artist WillowRaven. Today we get to see illustrations of two main characters, Melia and her best friend, Tatou.
Melia is a girl who doesn't fit in. She is half-mortal, half-faerie, and dwells in the Realm of Faerie with her mother and two sisters. Her mortal heritage is glaringly apparent, for Melia lacks something that all other faeries possess: wings. More than anything, Melia yearns to fly.
She gets her wish--though not in the way she expects. When her own mother places a curse on her, Melia is forced to transform into a black eagle every night. As an eagle, she experiences the gift of flight she has always craved--but sometimes finds herself possessed of an animal instict she can't totally control.
In this image, we get to see Melia in eagle form gazing at herself in an enchanted basin, which reveals her half-faerie face.
Tatou is a pixie and Melia's most loyal friend. As a pixie, Tatou has the ability to send faeries and humans alike into a bacchus-like trance, wherein her victims are cursed to revel in dance and song until they are released. And she always carries a little pixie-dust in the pocket of her petal skirt.
And now, onto our interview with author Heidi Garret!
1. How did you go about researching cover artists for your book?
First, I connected with Shera of Book Whispers on Goodreads.com. I signed up for her email list almost a year ago, so I got all of her Cover Coveting emails, which I saved. When it was time to start thinking about my own cover, I sorted through them to help me figure out what I liked. Second, I have been reading a lot of books on my Kindle Fire. I made a list of all the books with cover art I really liked. I tried to contact several cover artists that way, but really didn’t have any luck. Third, I was connected to the World Literary Cafe by a fellow writer. The WLC has a “toolbox” that lists cover artists. I studied the art and pictures on their websites. I contacted one of the artists and she wasn’t available. However, I refused to let myself be disappointed, as I believed the right artist was out there. I am not sure why I believed, but I did. I kept being drawn back to WillowRaven’s work. I think I was afraid to approach her because she does original work and I think I was worried about the price. However, after another weekend of failing to connect with a local artist, I contacted WillowRaven.
2. What specifically about WillowRaven's art made you realize she was the right person to bring your story to life?
I thought WillowRaven’s work was very beautiful. She had many different styles in her catalogue and I liked all of them. I ended up discussing her work with my husband, who is also an artist. He encouraged me to contact her. My initial connection with WillowRaven was through the Live Chat on her website. I was nervous because I had never “met” her. But she was very professional and talked me through everything in the chat. We discussed some of the ideas I had in mind, everything from colors to characters to scenes. She gave me her feedback as a visual artist. Then we discussed prices. From the research I had already done, I thought her prices were very fair.
3. What was it like to have an artist translate characters and scenes from your novel into art?
When I look at the work WillowRaven has done, it leaves me breathless. As a fantasy novelist, one of the things I wanted to create in my own work was that feeling of being drawn into another world. That “other place” where readers will--hopefully--long to go, when this world is “too much with them.” As WillowRaven began to finish the book cover and her scene illustrations, I was like: “She did it.” She visually created that “other world” that exists in my head. And in some respects, she imagined it better than I did.
4. Can you describe you collaborative process with WillowRaven?
It felt very much like I planted a little seed with word and description. Then she grew that “idea” into a fully formed plant and flower. I revised some of my narrative, because her artwork took a character or a scene to a different level. As a talented visual artist, she could see things beyond my imagination. It was exciting to see her interpretations of my story and characters. Tatou was more Disney-like when I originally created her. But when I saw WillowRaven’s perception of her, I fell in love. And realized she was a better Tatou for my story.
5. Any advice you'd like to offer other indie authors as they embark on their quest for a cover artist?
I think it’s important to have an idea of what you want. Take that idea to the artist you want to work with. Then, be open to their feedback. I feel like part of the reason WillowRaven’s art for Nandana’s Mark is so incredible, is because, it is truly, her work.
Keep your eye out for Nandana's Mark, coming in August 2012!
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.
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.