Cover Story for Leoshine
On Friday, July 9th 2021, sixteen Leoshine superfans gathered on my driveway. The weather was perfect — warm and sunny but not overbearing.
The tickle of draping, cold metal caressed her neck.
His fingers glanced off the tips of her neck hairs. “I want you to wear this. I have ao Kevath’s approval.”
Her body quivered as her intuition reached for him behind her. He’s clasping a chain.
A low chuckle rumbled in his throat as he turned her to face him.
She raised her hand to touch the new weight at her throat. By lowering her chin, she could just see a clear hard bauble banded in gold, exactly like the chain in the box with the book but smaller. Her fingers explored the nubbles and holes in the intricate weave of the links.
From Leoshine, Princess Oracle by N. MacCameron
The Leoshine Series needed a spectacular set of covers. I wanted to catch the readers’ attention in a dramatic way with evocative art.
Colleen McCubbin, of Siretona Creative, connected me with the perfect artist for this work. Leoshine is written for exactly the kind of students Anna Pederson teaches at an international school in Niger. Our connection grew even more perfect when I saw her painting Escape.
The upside-down reader, the multi layered elements, and the blue theme all fed my soul at the deepest level. I fell in love with the way Anna unites a collage of images in one frame.
I did ask for a painting like Escape. I thought we could make one small picture for each book in the Leoshine series on one large canvas. But I don’t spend money I don’t already have. All I could afford was one picture. One image for book one on an 11x14 canvas.
Anna packed as much as she possibly could into that one picture!
We met via zoom with a seven-hour time difference between us. Early in the morning for me was mid afternoon for her. Her African internet, and her overheating phone might have slowed us down a little, but the passion for art burned hotter than any of these.
Anna says she “picked my brain.” I told her about Leoshine’s world — the generated Dome on a chunk of rock in empty space, the underground rivers and the engines that spew chemicals at each other to create the atmosphere. She took notes and threw out suggestions.
A few weeks later, she started sending sketches. The element that took the longest to design was the chain.
The pendant that Leoshine wears is a miniature of what Avram places over Resham’s shoulders to mark him as priest each time they hold worship. Avram presses the chain into his own forehead, trying to remind himself of his mission. Leoshine presses the chain into her lower lip when she is afraid or thoughtful.
I sketched ideas and we had another meeting. Anna made stencils because by her own admission she doesn’t like painting repeated patterns. Little by little, the chain took shape. As she painted, she analyzed every detail. She even painted over many hours of work because the size of the crosses and crowns did not please her.
She researched the way gold is not only yellow, and how the yellow is accentuated by green and blue. She thought about how the chain would lie. I’m sure we’ll have many variations of draped chain because the pendant appears on every book cover in the series. We’ll also have a different picture in the glass globe to reflect the themes and action in each book.
We puzzled over how to get the finished art from Niger to the Canadian Prairies where I live. African post is never an option. People do travel between Anna’s school and North America and the price of the painting included postage within North America.
The excitement was palpable among Leoshine’s superfans on Friday as Anna herself arrived to deliver the painting. She came home for the summer and made the trip to my city for this purpose.
Between the cover poster and the map, she set the original painting on the table and draped a brightly printed African skirt over it. Colleen McCubbin livestreamed the unveiling to Instagram (there is also a Youtube video) and Leoshine’s supporters clapped and listened to our answers to Colleen’s questions. Then we ate ice cream sandwiches!
I have great plans for Anna. If there are six books in the Leoshine series, Anna has six paintings to complete. Right now, I am saving up and dreaming about book two, Leoshine Princess Quarry.
The heavy lifting of designing the pendant and chain is done. But what picture would you put in the crystal ball for a book of that title?