After ‘The Shadow Queen’ by CJ Redwine topped our March releases cover chart, we asked the author herself for the story behind this gorgeous book:
I’m so very honored to see that so many readers love the cover for ‘The Shadow Queen’. I love it too! When we first began discussing the kind of covers we wanted for this series of standalone fantasy novels inspired by fairy tales, I told my team that I wanted a bold color and a single iconic symbol. I really had no idea how they would interpret that. There are several iconic images from the Snow White fairy tale—the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the deer’s heart—so I waited on pins and needles for them to put a comp together and send it my way.
A cover comp is their first rendition of what they imagine the final art will look like. When they send me a white cover with a black apple and my title photoshopped onto the apple, I was thrilled. It was so bold and arresting, and the black apple absolutely fit with the darkness in the story I’d written.
The next step was to actually put the real cover together. For that, my team turned to a pair of artists called There Is. The artists painted apples and hand carved the lettering for the title into several different apples and then photoshopped it into one solid apple. You can read the fascinating description for how they produced the final picture here.
Once my team had the final picture of the carved apple, they put it against a backdrop of snow and then worked in the drips at the bottom of the apple. I was thrilled with the results. The snow not only calls to the origin of Snow White’s name, but the book itself takes place in winter, mostly in a snowy mountain range. The apple, of course, represents the poison apples from the original tale, but the black rot adds a new element that is present in ‘The Shadow Queen’. The wicked queen Irina bespells apples (in a truly horrifying manner) that, once eaten, ensnare that person to do her bidding. And when someone bites into one of Irina’s apples, the inside is nothing but black rot. The dripping rot also symbolizes the decay of the kingdom beneath Irina’s rule as her magic drains the land and spreads a blight across it.
I absolutely love the gorgeous, dark, epic cover my team gave ‘The Shadow Queen’, and I’m so happy that readers love it too!
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