Thinking about Images

Great news. My debut novel is now scheduled for publication by DAW in November 2014. At the moment it’s called ‘Empire of Dust’, but that’s a working title and likely to change.

My editor emailed last week and asked me to think about which scenes in my book would make a good cover illustration. She’s thinking of asking Stephan Martiniere to do the cover which is mind-bogglingly wonderful because… well… Stephan Martiniere, you know. And if you don’t know, take a look here:

My story is full of movement – at least, that’s what I’m aiming for – so how do I identify those frozen moments that linger on the back of the eyelids like sunspots? You know, the ones which illustrate not just the scene, but encapsulate the feeling of the whole book.

I hunted through the text and found two scenes that might work.

The first is when Cara Carlinni and Ben Benjamin walk down the ramp of the landing vehicle on to Olyanda, a virgin planet ripe for settlement. It’s about 30% of the way in. The second is towards the end of the book when there’s a stand-off between Cara and Ben on one side and Ari van Blaiden and his henchman, Craike, on the the other. In the book it’s a frozen moment immediately before everything goes pear-shaped for our heroes.

That led to thinking about detailed descriptions of the characters, which mostly I avoid in the text, trying to give enough detail to let each reader paint a picture in their mind. (It won’t be the same picture for everyone, of course.)

I’m not one of those authors who bases a character on a specific actor and has an image in mind from the start. My characters grow organically (in looks and personality) as I find out more about them by writing their story.  So I spent several hours trawling the web (Pinterest rocks!) for images that fit what my characters have become.

Then I had to isolate the scenes and write up detailed descriptions of people, places, equipment and spaceships to send to my editor, so I’ve been busy this weekend. Tomorrow we’ve scheduled some phone time to talk before a publisher’s marketing meeting later this week.


About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (, the secretary of Milford SF Writers (, a singer ( and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers ( She's also a Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration department licensed sponsor processing UK work permits (Certificates of Sponsorship).
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8 Responses to Thinking about Images

  1. Pingback: Updated Blog Archive: 2013 to 2019 | Jacey Bedford

  2. Gorgeous Gary says:

    Martiniere is one of my favorite SF/fantasy artists. Love his covers!

  3. Jaine Fenn says:

    One of the things about being published in the US is you get to have actual characters on your covers. All my covers are scenery, albeit space scenery. Having said that I was lucky enough to also have input into them – glad DAW are doing that for you.

    • Jacey Bedford says:

      I suggested two scenes to illustrate and luckily my editor likes them both and, like me, prefers the first one. I think she’s sending both to Stephan with a suggestion that if he thinks it will work well visually the first is preferred, but the seciond is available as a backup.

  4. Jacey Bedford says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever let myself daydream that far ahead, but some covers do resonate more than others, don’t they? Every time I see a great cover I do think: What if…

  5. What a great task. So interesting. I’d love to do that for my characters. I do occassionally day dream about the front cover of the book that I haven’t actually finished writing yet!

  6. nancyrae4 says:

    I had no idea editors ever asked writers for input on cover design. That’s exciting:)

    • Jacey Bedford says:

      I don’t know whether they all do, and I doubt I’ll get any input on the actual design. This is more like giving the editor information so she can prepare a brief for the artist. After that I guess it’s between the artist and the publisher’s marketing team.

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