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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Queens Of The Wyrd (Special Edition) by Timandra Whitecastle


Hello there Fantasy Book Critic crew, Timandra here! Since this last interview around the Kickstarter, I’ve been hard at work getting everything together for the campaign’s fulfillment, but! I'm now back and super excited to officially share the brand new cover. 

Let me take you a little behind the scenes of how it came to be. 

So. A while ago, I wrote a book called: Queens of the Wyrd. It got some high praise in the SPFBO 6 contest and was one of the semi-finalists in the Fantasy Hive’s group. 

It’s a story about a band of middle-aged & older viking mothers who go on an epic quest to save the children (who, as Whitney Houston sang so wisely, are our future). Along the way, they fight both drakes and their inner demons, travel through Hel(l) and Niflheim, and end up having to prevent Ragnarok … as one does. Here’s a pitch:

Gather all your major epic fantasy ingredients and blend with Norse mythological elements. Take a pinch of Kings of the Wyld, add a dash of Thor: Ragnarok, but then make it weird with an ALL FEMALE CAST, themes around identity, parenting, and chapter headings with modern references. Set it to Heart’s cover version of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song and voila! Enjoy while hot.”

I knew I wanted to work together with Tommy Arnold to capture my viking moms’ spirit in the new art. Tommy has done some outstanding covers like:

Gideon the Ninth (Tor)

Harrow the Ninth (Tor)

The Unbroken (Orbit)

Murderbot (Subterranean Press - Interior artwork: Rogue Protocol)

He also did my previous trilogy covers and, I am biased, of course, but I love them.

Once theKickstarter funded, I told Tommy that one of my biggest inspirations in writing Queens was the crazy shenanigans/breath-of-fresh air that was Marvel’s Thor Ragnarok.

So we were looking at a lot of Superhero Posters a lot for the inspiration for the cover. Moms are superheroes anyway, but we don’t often get to see them on book covers, nor do we really see older women. I was thinking, we have all these really cool action movie posters with guys on them, especially older guys? For example ... Keanu Reeves looks at least 40 years old in John Wick, and I think he’s actually older than that ... probably closer to the Shieldmothers’ age. (I checked. Keanu is 56!)

And I can’t really think of something similar for action heroines (maybe The Old Guard which heavily featured Charlize Theron?). Mostly, action ladies are in their late 20s, mayyyyyyybe early 30s, and are very often depicted in very sexy poses.

Which brings me back to Wick. (Mild spoilers ahead. Go and watch John Wick if you haven’t!) The promo images I’ve seen all depict that this former assassin is dangerous because he has nothing left to lose anymore; the bad guys killed his doggo and Wick is super mad. But -- and maybe this is just me -- Keanu‘s face also kinda shows that Wick doesn’t actually WANT to return. He’s reluctant to become the bestest super murder hobo again. He’s tired. He’s retired.

And I feel this is a vibe I’d love to see for my Shieldmother’s, Lovis & Sol. They didn’t sign up to saving the world. They’re tired. (I actually don’t recall letting Lovis get a full night of sleep in the entire novel. This is parenting btw. Welcome to sleep deprivation for the next several years. XD). They’re retired. But ... dammit, they can’t just let Ragnarok roll over their kids without at least trying to stop it.

I asked Tommy: Can you create a cover with an older female action hero (or heroes) that 

a) isn’t sexualized 

b) shows the threat these ladies are but also 

c) depicts how tired they are of having to step in to clean up all the BS. Again.

Here's what Tommy sent back:

Half-Giant Lovis (aka the Tank)

Sol (leader and fighter)

All the Queens


And now I had a problem. How could I possibly choose?!? So much epic! Gah!

After recovering from being mind blown, I wrote back and asked Tommy if he could combine both Lovis and Sol in one picture?

And he did. Oh Gods, he did.



So now all we have to do is add the titles, right?

They’re a bit punk because that’s the spirit of this book - it’s raw and angry and has a non-stop pounding beat. At least … that’s what I wished I had initially pitched to the incredible Shawn T King XD but we got there eventually (mea maxima culpa, Shawn, for my backtracking and waffling!)

Look at the awesomeness he made:

The full print version:

I should add: since this is an exclusive cover done for the Kickstarter campaign, you will *not* be able to find this version on Amazon. Instead, you can pre-order the ebook with a new regular edition cover (created by James T Egan of Bookfly Design):

Pre-order on Amazon here! It’ll automagically download to your Kindle on June 1st!

If you’d prefer a signed print Kickstarter version with the Special Edition punk!cover, you can do so exclusively over my website! 

I chose to write this book because I was tired of trudging along with the fantasy dads who get to go on adventures, leave their kids with the moms, and still be counted among the Good Dads. Because I wanted to see more people like me, i.e. mothers, in that same kind of epic fantasy adventure, who are heroic, who have to take their kids along (because in fantasy as in reality, childcare isn’t as encompassing as it needs to be!), and who tackle how often mothers are set up to fail because the world tells us our fate is this: motherhood, and we have to do it all on our own.

We do not.

Listen to my battlecry: it takes a whole warband of Queens to raise the next generation.

This cover depicts everything I wanted from the story, which I think you'll love:

-        lethal middle-aged lady warriors who are tired and all out of f*cks to give!

-        epicness

-        shieldmaidens!

-        going viking & gods & the end times!

-        female friendships!

-        Norse mythology with twists!

-        battles! with monsters!

-        sword and sorcery!

-        modernisms!

I am beyond thrilled to share this cover with you all. I hope you like it!

Thanks again to Mihir for hosting the reveal!

NOTE: Timandra Whitecastle pic courtesy of The Fantasy Inn.


BriandAndersonbooks said...

The Blog title might set some folks off. Wyld should be Wyrd. I saw it and thought, boy oh boy, Nick Eames isn't going to be happy. Then I noticed the actual title. Just a heads up.

Robert said...

Got a typo in your post title (should be Wyrd not Wyld).

Cheerio! RR

The Reader said...

Thanks guys, fixed that :)


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