"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Changing Face of Eolyn

As part of DelSheree Gladden's Meet the Character Blog Fest last month, I wrote a brief post about how the art work depicting Eolyn has evolved with her character.  I'm reposting that essay here today, for those of you who may have missed it on the blog fest. The post includes another sneak preview -- the best yet -- of cover art for my new novel High Maga.

If you've already read this post, then I invite you to stop by Heroines of Fantasy this week, where we are having a lively discussion about whether an author's personal beliefs should influence our decision to buy his or her work. 

And, saving the best for last, please visit Hadley Rille Books new web site, which went live just last weekend.  If you're an author, make sure to check out HRB's call for submissions for its new Ruins anthology while you're browsing the site.

Enough news; here's my post.  Enjoy!

Images of Eolyn

The novels Eolyn, High Maga, and Daughter of Aithne tell the story of a woman struggling to define her own path in a world largely ruled by men. 

Cover art for EOLYN by Jesse Smolover
In the first novel, we meet Eolyn as a girl with a remarkable but forbidden gift.  Fleeing the soldiers of the Mage King, young Eolyn takes refuge deep in the South Woods.  When she meets the mysterious Akmael, destined to assume the throne of this violent kingdom, she embarks on a path of adventure, love, betrayal, and war.  Bound by magic, driven apart by destiny, Eolyn and the Mage King confront each other in an epic struggle that will determine the fate of a millennial tradition of magic.

High Maga is a companion novel that begins about four years after Eolyn ends.  Early in the story, Eolyn’s fledgling coven is destroyed and the kingdom invaded by an army that commands a terrible and malevolent magic.  Eolyn discovers a weapon that could unravel their power, and must find a way to deliver this weapon to her king. This is a darker novel than the first, deeply entrenched in the brutal realities of war.  And Eolyn is older, more mature and capable of taking on greater and ever more complex challenges.

The artwork for Eolyn and High Maga illustrates very nicely the evolution of Eolyn’s story and character between these two novels.  I’ve had the privilege of working with wonderful artists in both cases: Jesse Smolover, who did the cover art for Eolyn, and Thomas Vandenberg, who is putting the final touches on the cover art for High Maga. 

Detail from the cover art for HIGH MAGA
by Thomas Vandenberg
Jesse’s image of Eolyn captures her innocence and nascent power as she steps out of a sheltered life in the South Woods with the hope of restoring women’s magic to the life and culture of her people.

Thomas’ illustration for High Maga shows us Eolyn in battle, a vivid image of a determined woman who has already suffered loss and sacrifice, yet who refuses to surrender in the face of danger. 

I have loved Eolyn in all her stages of development.  It’s such a privilege to work with a complex character for whom every new experience becomes an opportunity for growth and change, and it’s really delightful to see these changes reflected in the artwork for my novels.

My third novel, Daughter of Aithne, is in the works so I can’t talk a whole lot about it, but I know that when we see the face of Eolyn for this final book in the series, it will be reimagined once more to reflect the added years of her experience and the changing context of her world. 

This post was originally published on October 22, 2013, on the blog for author DelSheree Gladden.