THE MIDNIGHT DUNES by Steven Kelliher – Cover Reveal
Working with artist Aaron Nakahara on the covers for the Landkist Saga has been a dream for me and… probably something else entirely for him.
While the production processes for both Valley of Embers and The Emerald Blade were moderately smooth, The Midnight Dunes required a longer process and more iterations to really get right. This was owing in part to a difficult color scheme/setting and to changes in direction we wanted to take as each iteration brought new strengths and weaknesses to light (literally).
First, we figured out the overall feel of the piece, which recalls the first book’s epic stand against some big-ass creature. Instead of a cloud dragon thingy, Landkist 3 brings our heroes up against something else. Something older, something more awesome … and something difficult to nail down in terms of design.
Next, we got to fleshing out the color scheme, which was always purple and amber. The trick was … how do we make the beast (known as a Night Lord in the novel) at once imposing, striking and somewhat indistinct? With the setting being at night, Aaron set to playing with lighting and fire effect for several weeks before we felt we were close.
The final breakthrough came when we decided to increase the contrast of the piece by making the Night Lord’s chest less about fire and more about the night sky, as if he was channeling the very stars behind him, or perhaps those from whence he came.
After that, it was a matter of making bolder outlines and letting Aaron run wild with detailing.
Slap the titling together, and boom! We’ve got an image that I think rivals the first two and brings a different mood to the series, which echoes the story inside.
And here’s the official blurb:
Some say they never should have left. Others, that they should never go back.
For Talmir Caru, the world has left him little choice. With his people balanced on the knife-edge of a war beyond reckoning, the Captain of Hearth must brave the deserts of his ancestors to find the power left buried there – a power that could provide the Emberfolk their only hope should their wayward champions fail.
They say the Faey can hurt as easily as heal.
Iyana Ve’Ran, living legacy of the Faey Mother, is beginning to tap newly-discovered powers of her own. While her lost sister seeks to put an end to the War of Sages, Iyana just wants to put the world she loves back together again. But some things must be broken before they can mend.
They say only death waits beneath the sands.
Despite deep misgivings about returning to the Embers’ ancestral home, Karin Reyna, First Runner of Last Lake, has sworn to keep his companions alive throughout their journey. In so doing, he will rediscover what made his a name for stories before their time.
You can pre-order The Midnight Dunes here, and add it to your Goodreads shelves here. Also, check out Fantasy-Faction’s reviews of the first two books in the Landkist Saga, Valley of Embers and The Emerald Blade!