I am so extremely excited to bring you this behind the scenes look at the gorgeous cover of Gravemaidens coming from Kelly Coon releasing on October 29th!
But first let me tell you what the story is about so you can appreciate the cover. And it’s the beginning of a fantasy duology!
In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be…before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.
When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.
But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.
Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There, she discovers more danger lurking in the sandstone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.
Moths: When I saw the moths on the cover of GRAVEMAIDENS, I FELL IN LOVE. Sammy Yuen, the graphic artist who designed the cover, just slayed me. I never realized I liked these little creatures until I saw them flitting around the bottle on my very own cover, and now I’m looking at moths everywherrrrrrreeee! They’re symbolic to the story in that they represent the three Sacred Maidens who have been chosen to accompany the ruler of Alu, the city-state in which the story takes place in death if he dies.
The crown: The crown symbolizes the royalty the three sacred maidens experience in the palace after they are selected as Lugal Marus’ maidens. They experience riches and glamour like never before. Two of the girls are from the impoverished areas of Alu, so even having nice leather sandals to wear on their feet is a luxury, let alone the sparkly tunics. Now they get all dolled up in flower crowns and beaded necklaces, makeup, gold bracelets, and copper headdresses. They’re made to feel like queens to get them excited about crossing over into the Netherworld with the ruler if he should pass.
The bottle: This was sooooo cool. I had no idea Sammy was going to give me such a dark edge to this rather gorgeous cover. The shattered glass symbolizes the darkness inherent to this story. This “gift” of human sacrifice that the Sacred Maidens are receiving is not such a glorious thing as Kammani, the main character, tries to explain to them. They may look beautiful for a while, but if Kammani cannot save the ruler from dying, they’ll be passing to the other side in the arms of the Boatman, the skeletal conduit between this life and the next. It’s a grim fate, one that’s even more grim because it was inspired by actual ancient rites.
Inside the bottle: The contents of the bottle are symbolic of the healing properties of Kammani’s tinctures since she’s a healer’s apprentice. She gets chosen to go to the palace to heal the ruler in her father’s stead, since he has gone missing. The color reflects both my brand and a special surprise inside the story itself! =)
About the Author
YA author Kelly Coon is an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a member of the Washington Post Talent Network, a former high school English teacher, ACT test prep book author, and a wicked karaoke singer in training. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains, and wishes every story got the happy ending she’s living near Tampa with her three sons, dashingly handsome husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. Gravemaidens is her debut novel.