In the Lucen city dwell the descendants of Righteous and Fallen angels. Kept hidden from the rest of Earth and governed directly by Heaven, each descendant is given a chance to prove themselves loyal to Heaven, and obtain salvation. For most, the task is encouraging and fair, but for David, it’s devastating.
David Ghent has waited twenty-one years to fulfill a prophecy foretelling the destruction of Lucifer’s power on Earth and Heaven, saving himself and the entire world from Hell’s power. His training is complete, the city prepared. As the battle commences, the city’s most beloved daughter, Layla, suddenly appears at the Hellgate. David is then faced with an impossible choice: fulfill the prophecy, or save her life. The consequences David faces after choosing Layla force him to question his entire life, and his loyalty to Heaven. As the aftermath of failure unfolds, David discovers that the real battle against Lucifer has just begun.
by Maren Dille
People ask me what the hardest part of writing is. Most authors say revisions, editing, things that are very tedious and detail-oriented. I’d never say I’m a detail person, but I love revisions and editing—not the mechanics of it, but because it means that I’m done. The story is out, I only have to tweak it. I struggle with other small but very crucial things: the title, the blurb, the cover.
The blurb and the title I can deal with. They’re words, I’m an author, the end has a means. The cover, however, is a completely different art form. I appreciate visual art forms, but I certainly don’t have the talent for creating them. One of my best friends, Kati Ellis, is a professional photographer at Ellis + Lane. She runs a business based in Southern California, shooting interiors and all sorts of fancy things. She also happens to have been The Faith and Fate of David Ghent’s first beta reader, knowing the story almost as well as I do. When the time came to design a cover, she put her genius to work.
It was meant to be, really. We discussed what we wanted the cover to convey. Something fairly simple so the reader wouldn’t miss anything. Something intriguing, eye-catching, and beautiful. Neither of us had an image in mind. Though David is technically part angel, putting angels on the cover felt wrong. The early David doesn’t seem very angelic. Some people will call this novel a romance, a fantasy, a drama. In truth, it’s a coming of age story, which just happens to include all those elements.
So, no angels. Pictures of Heaven and Hell? Too scary, or too light. We needed a balance, something to show the transition and progression David and the other characters make. A landscape or a still image also felt all wrong, too stagnant.
Kati searched her photographs, then called me to ask what color eyes David had. Silver, I said. Then I checked my email and opened up what would be (with just a little tweaking) the cover. It was exactly what we wanted. The shift from light to dark, the visibility of only half of David’s face; the light, mysterious eyes; the smooth, intriguing expression. And of course, it always helps when your main character and subsequent model is exquisite.
The original photograph shows the upper half of the model, posing with his hand raised, the left side of his lips pulled smugly to the side, looking very artistic and classic. Kati isolated just the right side of his face, created the background, and carefully scripting “Ghent” to look as if David had signed the story himself. Ellis + Lane’s original intent with the photograph was a more sensual and sophisticated portrayal of the model. Sensual and sophisticated aren’t the words that come to mind when I think of David. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why.
The manipulation of photographs is what makes Kati a true artist. She adjusted the light and color of the background, transformed his eyes to a more clear silver, and modified the mood. The end result is a brooding, mysterious, masculine depiction of our hero. You can compare the original photograph and the cover here.
The point is that putting a face to my David is a gratifying experience, making my journey as an author complete. Whether we like it or not, the cover of a book is the first impression the reader gets. The impression of this cover embodies the 99,000 words it contains in its pages.
But really, I’m trying to say I’m obsessed with the cover of my book. Thanks, Kati.
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About the Author
Maren grew up in Rochester, NY, which is why much of her work is set in the East. She moved to Provo, UT to attend Brigham Young University in 2004. Meanwhile, she received a license in cosmetology in 2006, and graduated with a B.S. in Home and Family Living-Clothing and Textiles in 2009. After graduation, Maren worked as a cosmetologist/barber, while her husband finished his own degree in Special Education. After he graduated, they settled in Spanish Fork, UT, where they plan on staying for a long time.
Now Maren is a stay-at-home mom, part-time piano teacher, cosmetologist, and writer. Amidst the buisiness of being a housewife, she loves reading, writing and playing music, vacationing, going on dates with her hubby and friends, throwing dinner parties, and sewing. She enjoys collecting books, and hopes someday to have a library big enough to fit all of them. Currently, her two pretty-enough-to-be-displayed-bookshelves are overflowing, and she's got books stashed all around her house. Open a random drawer, you'll probably find one.
Maren's previous work includes a short comedy, "A Tale of Two Cemeteries", and a middle-grade reader, The Treehouse. The Faith and Fate of David Ghent is her first published novel.
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