Crossways, my follow up to Empire of Dust, is due out on 4th August, so with only a few weeks to go I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the cover art by Stephan Martiniere. Stephan did the gorgeous artwork for Empire of Dust, but I think he’s surpassed himself with Crossways.
Empire is set largely on a single planet, Olyanda, so despite the floating ‘car’ and the hi-tech weapons and protective suits (buddysuits) the background is geographic. (Yes there is temporary city being built in the background and aprimitive alien creature (benign) called a trikalla, floating close behind Cara’s groundcar.)
Crossways is the name of the space station (mentioned broefly in Empire) but more of a character in its own right in the second book, hence the title and the cover.
I’m very lucky that Sheila Gilbert, my editor at DAW asks me about the covers. She picks the artists and then I get to send in a couple of scenes that I think the artist might find interesting to illustrate, and I get to send in descriptions so the cover illustration does actually bear some resemblance to my characters, my worlds or my tech. I don’t have the final say, of course, but I’ve been thrilled with the finished results on both occasions (And I’ve already seen the preliminary artwork for Winterwood – due feb 2016 – which I can’t show you yet but it’s fabulous!)
But back to Crossways. I sent a description of the space station as seen by my characters on their first approach, a sprawling wheel which has been added to over centuries, almost destroyed in its battle for independence a hundred years earlier, and rebuilt as necessity dictated, sealed and healed with additions sprouting upwards and outwards like encrustations. Stephan took my original description and this is what he produced.
What is amazing is that when I expand the illustration the detail is all there. That little tiny spaceship looks like this close up.
And when I look more closely at the space station there are sections which I feel I could live in, right now. Where’s my spacesuit?
In fact, I confess that on seeing Stephan’s superb illustration, I went back and edited my descriptions to better match what he’d produced. So glad I had time to do that. Staring into Stephan’s pic, I was able to identify where my psi-techs settle (the sector called Blue Seven) and the station’s ‘farm’ as well as the accommodation sector where Wes lives alongside some of the other members of Mother Ramona’s private guard.
Here are a couple more closeups. Enjoy. Do check out Stephan’s galleries on his own website.