Aug 062013

Guest Post: David Niall Wilson + Giveaway

Today I have a guest post from author David Niall Wilson about the cover of his latest book Nevermore. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post.

While I was writing the novel Nevermore – Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe – I was already thinking ahead. I know a lot of artists, but there are a few who can nearly always connect with me on levels where others fail. One such artist is Lisa Snellings, whose kinetic sculpture of a haunted Ferris Wheel brought all the stories of an anthology titled Strange Attraction to life, including my own novella, Deep Blue – which later became a novel by that same title.

Lisa’s art tends to be dark – sometimes bleak – but generally with a hint of hope, or at least melancholy humor. I own a piece of hers, a statue titled Resonant Kiss that I love. My daughter owns a selection of her “poppets” – which are magical and at times feel so much more important and magical than humans… When I thought about The Great Dismal Swamp, and the image of a woman trapped in a tree, my mind honed in on Lisa almost immediately.

I contacted her early on, and explained what the story was about – or – more precisely, what I wanted to capture on the cover. She was interested, and we worked out the details. Then I went back to writing. Every now and then, I dropped Lisa an email. She has – if possible – a crazier schedule than I do. She works very hard creating things to pay the bills, visits conventions, writes, plays piano, and so much more.

Over time, bits and pieces of what she was working on trickled through to me. A sketch first:
Lisa Snellings Tree of Lasting Sorrows (1)

I originally had no idea that she planned to create a sculpture. I’d thought she might paint it – but was surprised to find that she had much grander plans. What she created was nothing short of spectacular. The sculpture is titled The Tree of Lasting Sorrow and if my memory serves, stands about 18″ tall. This work is a separate thing from my cover. It has a small cage, dangling from one branch-taloned hand with a tiny prisoner inside. There is light and shadow, detail and surreal bits where features are smooth and left to the imagination of the beholder.

in progress

in progress

finished sculpture

finished sculpture

Very cool stuff. You can see more pictures of the statue itself and find posts about the progress of the work on Lisa’s Blog: One Artist Human Finding Her Way.

I saw the magic in the sculpture immediately, but was uncertain how it was to become a book cover. I should not have worried. One day I got another note from Lisa – she had started the backdrop. I, of course, didn’t know there was to be a backdrop, but I smiled and nodded at the computer, as if she could see me, and waited.

She painted a wonderful, dark, bleak backdrop that evokes nighttime in the swamp clearly. She photographed the statue against that backdrop, and all of the elements of her work that did not fit my novel blended and disappeared. I still smile very wide every time I see the finished product.

Those reading the novel will understand that the crows are very relevant, and that the tree…is magical. All that was left was the cover design, and for this I called on a friend of mine – Dave Lawson – who is something of a Photoshop guru. He searched out an appropriate font, and, after some pushing and prodding, we got the lettering sized and layered in properly.

I’d like to take a moment here to talk about this. In today’s publishing world, you can count on your book being available in a number of formats. You can’t just make something the size of a hardcover book and be satisfied with it – you have to think about how it will size down to Amazon thumbnails, or how it will work on an eReader.

The title of the book, and the author’s name, have to be clear – not so dark they can’t be read, and not in a font that looks like it was created for as flyer at a middle school function. Mixing fonts is not a good idea unless you are VERY good at it, because it looks amateurish. Color is of vital importance.

When we were done, this is what we came up with. It is absolutely gorgeous at hardcover and trade paperback size (and I have a print of it on my wall). It reads well at a thumbnail size, and maintains its detail. I believe that what Lisa did for me is to give me one of the finest covers ever to grace one of my books…and I’m grateful for it. She also read, and loved the story. That might be even more important.

I hope that you’ll want to read the book. I hope you’ll also check out Lisa’s other art, and possibly pick up something for your own collection. Many of her smaller works – the poppets in particular – are very reasonably priced. I know that we prize those that we own.

About David Niall Wilson

David Niall Wilson has been writing and publishing horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction since the mid-eighties. An ordained minister, once President of the Horror Writer’s Association and multiple recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, he has numerous novels available. He has over 150 short stories published in anthologies, magazines, and five collections, the most recent of which were “Defining Moments,” published in 2007 by WFC Award winning Sarob Press, and the currently available “Ennui & Other States of Madness,” from Dark Regions Press. David lives and loves with Patricia Lee Macomber in the historic William R. White House in Hertford, NC with their children, Billy, Zach, Zane, and Katie, and occasionally their genius college daughter Stephanie.

Guest Post: David Niall Wilson + GiveawayNevermore – Novel of Love, Loss, & Edgar Allan Poe by David Niall Wilson
Published by Crossroads Press on Apr 24, 2013
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads

On the banks of Lake Drummond, on the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp, there is a tree in the shape of a woman.

On one dark, moonlit night, two artists met at The Lake Drummond Hotel, built directly on the borderline of North Carolina and Virginia. One was a young woman with the ability to see spirits trapped in trees, and stone, anchored to the earth beyond their years. Her gift was to draw them, and then, to set them free. The other was a dark man, haunted by visions that brought his stories of sadness and pain, and trapped in a life between the powers he sensed all around him, and a mundane existence attended by failure. They were Eleanore MacReady, Lenore, to her friends, and a young poet named Edgar Allen Poe, who traveled with a crow that was his secret, and almost constant companion, a bird named Grimm for the talented brothers of fairy-tale fame.

Their meeting drew them together in vision, and legend, and pitted their strange powers and quick minds against the depths of the Dismal Swamp itself, ancient legends, and time.

Once, upon a shoreline dreary, there was a tree. This is her story.

Tour Giveaway

Win one of several copies of the book in multiple formats by entering the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

  6 Responses to “Guest Post: David Niall Wilson + Giveaway”

  1. This guy’s writing looks so good, I have a bunch of his stuff on my wishlist. How cool was that, her making that sculpture! Anyway, thanks for the great giveaway!

  2. The sculpture is pretty amazing.

  3. this book sounds kind of creepy

  4. interesting info about the cover

  5. My curiosity is definitely peaked. I love Poe and think this might be a lot of fun 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us and for this treat of a giveaway opportunity.

  6. liked the sculpture makes a great cover!

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