We don’t often do cover reveals, but when we do, it’s because a cover in an email attachment has made me say, out loud and with enough vigor to wake the cat, “HOLY CRAP.”
This, y’all, is a HOLY CRAP cover. It’s pretty damn spiffy for all the work it’s doing to explain the book in an image, and I liked it so much I asked if I could pester the designer with questions. Big thanks to publicist Caroline Perny and art designer Peter Lutjen at TOR for putting up with me. And! I have some bonus info from Kit Rocha as well, so we have all kinds of Q&A madness over here.
I’m sure you want to see the cover, right?
Kidding! That’s not all of it.
Here’s the copy about the book, should the cover lead you to ask questions:
Deal with the Devil is Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.
Nina is an information broker with a mission—she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America.
Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive.
They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process…Or they could do the impossible: team up.
Deal with the Devil is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.
I had to ask about the design process to create that image, because it’s pretty freaking amazing.
A Q&A with art designer Peter Lutjen
Mr. Lutjen was kind enough to answer all my questions. Thank you!
Good gravy, what a terrific cover. Well done! What were the absolutely required elements for this cover that you had in mind?
Peter: The essential elements were set out in the cover brief I received from the editor: a no-nonsense, ready-for-action librarian, set within a ruined library. A lot of the reference material I was given featured fairly tight shots of women, but in talking it through with the editor we agreed that we would pull back a bit since the setting itself offered an opportunity to do something really cool.
Were there other versions of this cover (and if so can I see some?!!) or did you nail the design down early?
Peter: I’d been wanting to work with photographer/artist Colin Anderson for a while, and having seen his knack for putting people in epic, dramatic landscapes, I knew he’d be perfect for this. He put together four rough initial versions for us, which you can see here.
We immediately loved the way the woman stood out among the ruins in the third one. The design itself was nailed down early; we wanted to keep the type pretty simple against the busy imagery.
Is this the first time you’ve done an image of a woman standing on a pile of rubble that’s actually books? Because wow is that striking.
Peter: I had to think about this one for a bit, but yes, I’m pretty sure it’s the first time! Credit to Colin for that idea; it’s one of the elements that really stood out to us among his initial concepts.
What is your favorite part of the image?
Peter: I love that she’s holding a couple of books along with her gun. That wasn’t in the brief. When Colin sent over his first roughs, he’d just used a stock CGI character to show placement, lighting, etc.
But we saw the book in her arm and realized that had to be in the final image as a complement to her weapon — firepower alone won’t be enough to save the world.
Darn right. Thank you so much, Peter!
MOAR Q AND MOAR A!
I asked Kit Rocha, aka Bree & Donna, some nosy questions about the cover, their plans for the series, and the nifty swag they’ve been working on – with special appearances by romance fans!
Holy cow, this cover! What was your reaction when you saw it?
Bree: I screamed. I literally screamed. (Ok, it was probably more like a shrieking yelp?) My mother was visiting and she bolted out of the guest bedroom in a panic and I just waved my hands and phone incoherently at her.
Donna: I was out with my husband, and he asked why my eyes got so big they were almost popping out of my head. I just turned my phone around so he could see, and he was like, “Oh. OHHHH.” (Needless to say, I love it.)
For readers who might not have heard about this series yet, what are the absolutely essential things for readers to know about it?
The Romancelandia Bullet Points
- Deal With the Devil is an enemies-to-lovers romance with a HEA.
- The hero leads The Silver Devils, a squad of supersoldiers who went rogue to avoid hurting innocents.
- The heroine leads a group of women with unusual abilities who have started a post-apocalyptic library.
- There’s a treasure map and a road trip.
- Thunderstorm sex absolutely happens.
- While this series isn’t erotic romance, it’s definitely sexy thunderstorm sex.
- Each book in the series features a new couple with their own HEA.
- You don’t have to have read any of our other books to try this one! It’s a new cast of characters in a totally new setting.
- (If you have read our previous books, you might catch an easter egg or two!)
I know you’re really, really skilled at developing series-related swag. Any plans for this series you can share yet?
Oh, we aren’t messing around. Having a traditional publishing timeline with this book instead of the shorter self-pub timeline we’re used to means we’ve had sooooo much time for evil plotting. We have lots of ideas still under wraps, but I’ll share three of my favorites.
Our creative and brilliant friend Cal over at Dragonsworn Cosmetics read an early copy of Deal with the Devil and set out to create an eyeshadow palette inspired by the series. The funniest part is that she made this almost a year before we finalized the official cover… and the colors somehow match perfectly. Like magic.
I’m pretty sure someone involved in this is psychic.
In Deal with the Devil, our heroine wears a pendant of three interconnected rings as a remembrance of the two sisters she lost.
From Deal With the Devil:
She found the necklace in the bathroom, dangling from the hook she’d screwed into the brick wall next to the sink. She snatched it up and put it on, finally exhaling as its familiar, comforting weight settled around her neck.
Nina didn’t have much left to remember her sisters by. Even some of her most vivid memories were beginning to fade, worn thin by the passage of time. But this pendant—three interlocking rings on a simple chain, identical to the ones her sisters had worn—was concrete. As long as she had it, she would always have a piece of Ava and Zoey.
She turned to leave the bathroom, and her breath nearly left her again as she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror above the sink. No, the necklace wasn’t the only reminder of her sisters. It couldn’t be, not when their faces stared back at her from every reflective surface.
But sometimes the pendant was the only reminder she could bear to look at.
We also have a Mercenary Librarians shirt for anyone who needs to tell people, emphatically, to READ.
What are you working on now?
Book two in the series! You know what happens when you throw a Brotherhood of Badasses and a Sisterhood of Superpowers together, right?
You get sparks. And sequels!
Thanks to Caroline Perny, Laura Etzkorn, Peter Lutjen, and Bree & Donna, aka Kit Rocha for making this possible.
So, what do you think of the cover?