I’m pleased to have author Rhiannon Frater on again as part of the tour for her latest book Last Bastion of the Living. It is available in ebook and print format. Rhiannon is the zombie queen and writes such fantastic fiction though I am eager to try out her vampire books as well. Variety being the spice of life and all.
In addition I have the amazing cover artist Claudia McKinney of Phat Puppy Art who did such a wonderful job in bringing Last Bastion to us in visual form. They’ll both be sharing about covers, how important they are and how the one for Last Bastion of the Living came to be.
Thank you Rhiannon -
How much input have you had in your covers?
When I self-publish, I have total control. When Tor is my publisher, I can give some
input, but they make the final decision. With THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, I
had total control over the cover and I love what Claudia McKinney did with it. She had
already created the piece long before I wrote my book, but she tweaked it to fit my
story, which I appreciated.
How large a priority should an author make the cover?
Well, the old saying is “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but that saying is no longer true.
People do judge books by their covers all the time. I know a few self-proclaimed “cover
whores” who will not read a book if the cover isn’t appealing.
Since I decided to independently publish THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING I knew
the cover was incredibly important. I think the cover is really dynamic and immediately
draws in the reader. I love it.
What was your reaction seeing your book in print for the first time?
Stunned amazement! There were a lot of tears!
Does that first reaction lessen over time or do you still feel that same way each time?
It feels different, but awesome every time. Some covers just really pop when you hold
the complete book in your hand. THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING is that way.
It’s such a beautiful book. It’s so striking when you hold it in your hands. It’s an
awesome cover and it looks great in real life. The image wraps all the way around the
book, which gives it some extra power.
Thank you Claudia -
Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve done?
Yes, a piece called “Lucia’s Walk to Heaven” – inspired by my great-grandmother, Lucia Bartolai.
What is the process of cover design? Do you read the book, get scenes only from the author or just an idea to work with?
Unfortunately I do not have the time to read all the books I do covers for – I work all day – so it’s an impossible task to read them all. Also for me, less information is more…. i need to know some key elements, etc…
but it’s important if an author is coming to me, that they are doing so because they like my body of work and how I go about creating that “look”. So I ask them to trust me….
How did Rhiannons cover come about?
I had done a piece that Rhiannon felt would work well with her character – we just needed to tweak a few things and make it fit even more…
I always find that when authors license one of my current available covers – they have better successes….. i think because they resonate already with something they see in the current work that totally fits their character and/or storyline.
Do you have other creative outlets?
Yes… i am doing a lot of photography now…… so that is one great outlet for me…. but the best outlet of all come with the names, Catie, Bernadette, Francis and Sean — my four children.
They make it all so worth it – never a dull moment and so much fun!
The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.
Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.