COFE Staycation – How Did the Cover Come About?

COFE Staycation – How Did the Cover Come About?

As I mentioned during the IOLF blog tour, I made a lot of mistakes the first time I designed the Mystical Island covers. Not the least of which was the color scheme (faded instead of bright), the art style (simple vector instead of illustration or photomanipulation) and utter failure to include any of the characters on the covers. Live and learn.

I initially conceived of the Crossroads of Frozen Eternity cover as a floating island, similar to the one I asked Beth to create for the first book, with merely a road marker perched on top. This was to represent a crossroads in the most literal sense. And while I adored Beth’s original rendition, right down to the odd, runic symbols adorning the various direction markers, it unfortunately didn’t appeal to the market any more than the first book’s cover did.

When it came time to redesign the covers, I knew right away which concept I wanted to apply for Crossroads of Frozen Eternity. One of the book’s main themes is duality. The characters are forced to deal with distorted reflections of themselves; what better way to represent that struggle than by creating some kind of mirror reflection on the cover?

While the first book’s redesign was inspired more by concepts than actual scenes from the first book, the cover for Crossroads of Frozen Eternity comes straight out of the story. Catilen’s daughter, Morulin, is called by the island into the center of a clearing whereby she encounters a mirror reflection of herself in the lake. In the book, it kicks off an unstoppable series of events. And when I think about the story as it unfolds, this image is the perfect representation of its heart.

But I knew right away that it would be a bad idea to use Morulin on the cover. She’s only eight years old in this book. And when most people see a child on the cover of a book, they assume the book is for kids. Nor is Morulin really the main character of the story, though she does feature prominently. So Morulin’s mother has replaced her in the image we used on the cover – which works rather well, since Catilen’s duality is central to the plot.

It was relatively easy to figure out how to portray the scene; we just needed to reverse or distort Catilen’s reflection in the lake. Anything that indicated something was off. But I struggled to incorporate the floating island into the concept. Where should it go? I already knew I wanted to have a floating island on the third book’s cover and I didn’t think I could get away with not including it in this one.

As usual, Beth swooped in to solve all my problems (she’s really good at that)! Rather than an island floating in the sky, she put a little island in our lake and used its reflection to switch places with Catilen, neatly creating our distorted image. She also added a bunch of little details that never would have occurred to me – such as the bathhouse in the background and the magic fireflies emanating outward from the mini island. To ensure that we had successfully created the image we wanted, Beth also came up with the perfect test; she asked her mom what was happening in the picture.

While I love the floating island Beth created for Island of Lost Forevers, I have a soft spot for the distorted mirror image that adorns the cover of Crossroads of Frozen Eternity. But I’m super biased – Crossroads is my favorite book of the trilogy.


Purchase a digital copy | the paperback arrives September 18th!

The island is on a collision course with an alternate version of itself…

The island flourishes under Catilen’s rule. But Damian can’t escape the former lord’s shadow. It haunts him keenest in the form of Catilen’s seven-year-old daughter, Morulin. Damian wants to be part of her life, but fears rejection when she learns the truth about her father’s death.

With the island at her back, Catilen thought she could deal with any crisis. But when something tears the veil between worlds, she comes face to face with the man she spent the last eight years trying to forget. Worst of all, the island’s predicament has infected Catilen’s daughter with a mysterious ailment.

Catilen must put her personal strife aside, and stop Damian’s from consuming him, because saving the island’s inhabitants means making peace with Kenjiro Sentomoru.

Win a copy of both Island of Lost Forevers and Crossroads of Frozen Eternity signed by yours truly!

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