The cover art for Complicated: The Interstellar Life and Times of Saoirse Kenneally has arrived! It is gorgeous (okay, I’m biased) and a very nice incorporation of some key themes from the story. it makes me even more eager to get the book finished. Still tracking for late fall to early winter. You can see the cover on the home page at www.afictionado.com and on Facebook @ColinAlexanderAuthor.
Speaking of cover art, one point I have heard made at a couple of panels and I agree with completely: do not skimp on the cover. Obviously, if you have a book being published by a traditional publisher, this is not the writer’s issue; the publisher handles it. If, however, you are indie and self-publishing, it is important to find a good artist who will do your book justice. People do react to the cover when they are making decisions about whether to buy a book. I do, both online and browsing in a bookstore. The style of cover art has also changed over the years. So, have it done right. I do not think this is the place for DIY.
On the reading side, I saw Hannah Abigail Clarke featured in the SFWA blog last month so I decided to pick up their debut book, The Scapegracers. A note up front, this is a YA book and has a number of familiar themes such as not fitting in in high school, not having friends, and a complex (and sometimes painful) family background. The story takes these themes in different directions than usual, however. The main character is Sideways Pike, a fabulous name even if the derivation is clear (and is explained if you miss it). Yes, she is the angry, socially awkward outsider but, in her case, being gay and a witch have something to do with it. After a magic demonstration at a party she normally wouldn’t be invited to, she gets in with the cool kids, who turn out to have a lot in common with her, including a talent for magic. The danger is supplied by parties who are out to rid the world of witches (including ones in high school). The book spends a lot of time developing the characters and does not take the plot through to completion and I think this is because this is intended to be the first book in a series. Enough of the plot is shown that you can come to a logical pause (if not an end) at the conclusion of the book. The characters were well-developed, especially Sideways, and the construction of the magical world was good. Some of the angst became a bit repetitive, especially in the second half of the book and I would have liked to see more of the plot development but, yes, I am probably going to get the next one. Overall this is a fun, quick read – this from someone who generally doesn’t read YA.