Check out the final cover of WE ARE THE FIRE by Sam Taylor!
People love to throw around that tired adage, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but it’s a lie. Everyone judges books by their covers. Often the cover is readers’ first introduction to a book. How many times have you picked up a story simply because of its stunning cover?
So I was on pins and needles about my own book’s cover. What would it look like? How would it represent my story? Would there be fire? (Kind of necessary, in a book titled We Are the Fire, yes?)
I never should have worried. Because the Swoon Reads staff not only took great care of my book’s cover—they took it to a whole other level.
When my editor, Emily Settle, emailed me to say Swoon Reads had chosen Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme for Fire’s cover artist… to borrow a phrase from my favorite TV series GBBO, I was gobsmacked. Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme is a Hugo-nominated artist?! Who’s created an outstanding lineup of fantasy covers… including for G.R.R. Martin?!?! (Someone come pick me up off the floor.) What’s more, as I clicked through the portfolio of Bastien’s work, his aesthetic style is so spot-on for my book, I felt like I was already looking at art of my story’s world.
And the final cover… BOOM.
What’s not to love? Look at my girl Oksana—though she be but little, she is fierce! Love my boy Pran, as strong and steady as I’ve pictured him from the time I first imagined his character. I’m obsessed with the blue fire along the lower edge and even coming off Oksana’s hands. Those blues flames are the perfect touch because [redacted! Spoilers!!! Read the book!!!!] And I’m ridiculously happy with the little copper crown bird in the upper right corner. That bird doesn’t have a ton of page time, but he’s important as a messenger and a symbol for my fire-wielding teen soldiers.
Endless thanks to Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme for creating this brilliant cover, as well as to cover designer Mike Burroughs, and the whole Swoon Reads team for giving Fire such an awesome introduction to the world.
On the city’s far edge, opposite the burnt village, the fort loomed. It was a ghastly sight: glaringly bright walls covered in enormous strips of woven copper, the red-roofed Commander Tower standing sentinel behind them. The Nightmares charged toward it, dragging the Imps, bound together with thick, scratchy rope meant for docking boats, not restraining children.
And these were children. Whatever had possessed them to ignite a village had vanished. Now, bloodied and scorched, they shambled through the streets, looking as confused as Oksana felt.
Why? she yearned to ask them. Why did you do it? Why did you dare?
At her side, Pran lurched and groaned. His leg gave out, nearly knocking them both down. Oksana tugged his arm across her shoulders and scooped her other around his waist, cursing that she was too tiny to haul him on her back. At least the Nightmares hadn’t bound them, too, but they weren’t about to help, either. True Tuliikobrets are strong enough to stand on their own, as the commanders loved to say.
Revolting. It was just their excuse to be cruel.
She tipped her head against Pran’s, slumped onto her shoulder. “Almost there. You can do this!”
But they were falling desperately behind, Pran lagging with every step. One Nightmare glared toward them. “Goblins, keep up!”
“Pran needs help,” she pleaded, but the Nightmare stomped back to the sobbing Imps. Oksana swallowed her curses and turned to her saint. Yeva. My ally, my defender, my guardian. Help me get Pran inside. She yearned to touch the icon hidden beneath her tunic, clutch it for strength. But she needed both arms to keep Pran standing.
“You can do this.” She didn’t know if she spoke to Pran or herself.