Saturday, January 13, 2007

Full cover for THE STRANGELING!

Here it is, the full layout of my gorgeous cover for THE STRANGELING, my first fantasy novel due out in a couple of weeks with Juno Books.

I adore it! Really thrilled with how it’s turned out. Both the cover art (by Timothy Lantz) and the cover layout (by Stephan Segal,) work brilliantly for the story, and I’m so pleased with the final version.

THE STRANGELING is my first fantasy novel, a FANTASY novel that will be labelled FANTASY and will be shelved in FANTASY. NOT Romance NOR Paranormal Romance. ;) Anyone who has been following the big brouhaha over at Dear Author will understand my emphasis.

For those who aren’t following the brouhaha, the topic was about authors being harmed by publishers mislabelling their books. Juno, who publish “Fantasy with a focus on the female,” was lumped together with other publishers labelling their books “Paranormal Romance.” However, the “romance” word only appears on a Juno anthology, not the novels. Maybe because the Juno editor made an appearance in the discussion, the target increasingly became Juno books – books that are being shelved in Fantasy. Bizarre. Nobody listened when I tried to point that out. The other publishers/authors mentioned in the discussion must have loved it, because the spotlight was taken off them.

I hesitated even to comment here on my own blog, lest a load of them follow and starting beating me with sticks here. It was upsetting, yes. The funny thing about all this is that my first Juno novel, THE STRANGELING, ticks all the boxes for romance readers, it’s a Romance with a HEA (darn, I spoiled the ending for you readers!) Yet I’m very happy to have it labelled and shelved in Fantasy (where’d you say it was being shelved? Yes Fantasy shelves, NOT Romance) because that’s the predominant genre of this book. It also has a powerful romance and paranormal aspects, but it’s an otherworldly fantasy. A bit like The Simpsons is a cartoon, but it’s also a sitcom, soap opera, and family drama. I don’t feel harmed by my publishers labelling at all. Whilst the HEA/romance aspect might not be found in all the Juno fantasy books, it is in mine, this is probably why the brouhaha hit me so hard.

As a fantasy lover AND a romance lover, I was so pleased when lines like Luna and Juno came long. My second book with Juno, UNVEILING THE SORCERESS, was a project I started several years ago. I subbed it to a fantasy publisher I really wanted to be published by. They wanted the full, but the editor told me she wanted me to tone down the romance and the sensuality, make it more of a straight fantasy. Gods, I really wanted to be published by them, and it was before I was signed by Berkley, so I had little direction and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to say yes, but I couldn’t. It would be like ripping the heart out of my work. I had to withdraw my sub. It hurt, really bad. At the time I was being rejected for writing romance that was too erotic, erotica that was too romantic, fantasy that was too romantic, erotica that wasn’t contemporary enough, and so on. Self-doubt riddled me, what if I had turned away from the break I was meant to follow? Ultimately I couldn't do it. I put the book away, thinking it may only ever be written for me (and my CP who loved it too:)

Then.... things began to change, for erotica/erotic romance, and for fantasy. I had a book taken by Loose id, an epublisher that encourage cross genre experimentation. Luna was up and running, and then Juno came long. Juno bought print rights to THE STRANGELING (which was previously an ebook novella with Loose Id). Working with Paula Guran on expanding that project was a terrific experience. After a while I got UNVEILING down from the shelf and thought.. I wonder if…..?

I subbed it, and Juno signed it. Can you imagine how I'd have felt if I had gutted the beloved book, just to get it published, and then realised what I’d done? Juno is the right home for it. I’m proud to be a Juno author, to have Paula Guran's magical touch on my work, to be encouraged to write “Fantasy with a focus on the female,” and to be shelved in Fantasy. It was one of my many writerly ambitions.

Anyone still not sure where Juno novels are being shelved? :)


Anonymous said...

I have never really read any *fantasy* books, but hey what they hay... I shall look for it in the store...
And the cover is pretty...To me it is like soft, yet enigmatic....It is different!


Mathilde Madden said...

What a fascinating post, Saskia. I too am glad that genre barrier are more fluid now. I'm really looking forward to reading The Strangling and the cover is divine

Saskia Walker said...

Tilly - thank you! I needed to offload, I guess. I used to think writer just wrote stories. Ha!

Callie - the main difference for a new reader to fantasy would be that it's set in a world that isn't our world, but it's kind of a medieval setting, with pagan beliefs. I think you'd like the hero, and there's lots of hot pagansex magick...mmmpurrr ;) Maybe read my excerpt to see if this one takes your interest.

So glad you both like the cover!

Nikki Magennis said...

Ah, that's a beautiful cover, Saskia!

The genre discussion makes my head spin...

Anonymous said...

I read it and I am such a sap!

Cannot WAIT!


raine said...

I did visit and read some of the posts.
Not even going there, lol.
Just wanted to tell you I think your cover is FABULOUS.