Furious Heaven has a US cover and a new publication date (worldwide).
Thank you for your patience.
I turned in a revised draft of FURIOUS HEAVEN in November 2021. Due to circumstances beyond my control that include supply chain issues, the original publication date of August 2022 was cancelled.
I can finally definitively announce that the Tor Books (USA/Canada) edition will be published on April 18, 2023. Yes, I know. It feels like forever to me, too. That’s why I am thanking you for your patience.
I’ll also note that in the USA the date change caused many pre-orders to be canceled.
If you already pre-ordered — THANK YOU. And — please — check to make sure your pre-order wasn’t canceled. If it was, you can check out these links at Macmillan to all the various USA/Canada options for pre-ordering.
If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, now you can safely do so! (see link above). I’m told that pre-ordering is a great help especially for midlist books with modest publicity budgets. Honestly, I have no idea, but regardless, as always, I can’t thank you all enough for reading (and buying!) my books.
Voice actor Natalie Naudus, who narrated book one, will return!
But wait! There’s more! If you haven’t seen it already, here is the cover.
Some comments about cover art in general:
It took several revisions to get to this version of the cover. In the preliminary illustration, the figure meant to be Sun looked like a quiet, loyal clerk who stays in the background of the story.
Back in the day, writers weren't consulted about covers. The covers landed, and you got what you got. These days it is more commonplace (although not guaranteed) to ask a writer what they think of a cover concept or preliminary illustration. In this case I was asked my opinion. It's never useful to say, "I don't like this." Far better to discuss the cover in terms of what a cover actually does, which is to sell the story to a potential reader.
Covers are interesting beasts.
First, does a cover make a reader want to pick up the book? I’ve picked up books purely because a cover intrigued me; I appreciate good illustration and good design.
Second, does it suggest the kind of story the reader can expect to find inside? A reader looking for battle-heavy military sf may be taken aback to find themselves reading a philosophical exploration of post-modern AI life in a far future utopia. A reader looking for a Happily Ever After ending may not want, today, to read a book with a tragic fall from grace, even if there was a love story in it.
I hasten to note that perhaps such a reader will be delighted to find something they didn’t expect. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong in seeking out the kind of story you-the-reader want at that moment or in general. Covers help us find specific kinds of stories in a crowded marketplace.
That’s why, of course, covers come loaded with generic markers like big flags to grab our attention. Look, a hooded figure with a glowy sword! Is this an assassin magic book? Spaceships and explosions! Two people almost kissing with stars and wispy clouds in the background! A graphic design might suggest a “serious” novel or a multi volume epic fantasy with each novel having a different sigil on the cover, varying in color. Splashy primary colors with cartoonish figures and crayon-like fonts might be the latest design trend in “women’s fiction” (as they call it). Hazy pastels for a literary fiction book about a family drama, but a manly colors (whatever they are) and a gun for a modern day spy thriller. These trends change, sometimes quite rapidly.
How covers are allotted also has a lot to do with the writer’s gender and ethnicity. Maureen Johnson’s famous challenge, in 2013, asked people to gender flip covers, and the results were brilliant and incisive. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link. I laughed so hard.
This sort of “coding” is equally true for novels deemed to be “ethnic” (not WASP or generic white coded) as well as translations into English from other cultures/languages. It’s a vast and fraught subject tied in with all the other embedded elements in any given culture and how visuals have become often generic shorthand for far more nuanced and complex lives.
But for a writer or editor or art designer, the question at this stage -- with an illustration that can still be revised -- is not “do I personally like it” but “does it work to grab the right potential readers while, if possible, not alienating other readers who might also be willing to try it?”
In other words, it’s better to say, “who are these two characters meant to represent? It’s unlikely that readers of book one will identify this character as Sun. The image will confuse them.”
In such a case the question isn’t really whether the characters look exactly the way the writer might see them in their mind (or how any given reader might see them) but rather that the tone of the character creates the correct sense of who that character is within the story.
Ask what a cover suggests about the story: “I’m not sure this fuzzy landscape with a single mysterious alien-looking tower in the distance suggests a space opera that has a lot of battles, interpersonal emotion, and palace intrigue.”
Some covers will be better without identifiable faces on the cover; some work best with a human figure as long as it gets across the “idea” of the character.
The question always is: “Who is this cover for? Who will pick it up? What does it imply about the story inside?”
The Furious Heaven final cover is end result of several productive rounds of revision and design (the cover artist is Chris McGrath, probably best known for his Jim Butcher Dresden series covers and the Brandon Sanderson Wax and Wayne covers). I’m not sure who the art designer is and I’ll get that info asap, but I think it might be Jamie Stafford-Hill. A lot of the final visual effect is placed onto the illustration by the designer, and that's what really brings the package together into a unified whole, as it did here.
I had two hopes, or needs, for the cover. One was that the figure who represents Sun look as if she could be the kind of personality Sun is: a charismatic leader who will stop at nothing on her quest for glory. The second was that the cover suggest big ticket space opera. For me, knowing what’s inside, this cover works.
For those of you in the UK/Commonwealth market, I don’t yet have a confirmed pub date (since they will have changed their date because of the USA date change) but I believe it will be sometime in March 2023? Maybe? More on that when I have more.
Goldsboro Books will be offering a special signed (by me!) hardcover, as they did with book one. If you want to pre-order the signed UK hardcover, here is the link.
I’m still trying to figure out options for signing hardcover editions in the USA.
Finn says hello.
As always, my most heartfelt thanks. I couldn’t do this without you.