Friday, 22 March 2019

My Best Piece of Kidlit Writing Advice is ...

Oculum, DCB, Sept/2018

Today, I'm really honoured to be the Guest Blogger on the Kick-Butt Kidlit writing blog! They've got a "Spotlight on Canadians" this month. Go check it out, and you could win a copy of my middle-grade dystopia: OCULUM.

Kick-Butt Kidlit asked great questions like:

What's the Most Canadian Thing you've ever put into a book?  (Chi-Cheemaun Ferry)

What would you like to see more of in Canadian kid lit? (More review sites.)

What's your best piece of KICK-BUTT Kidlit writing advice? Just Keep ...

He-He. For the rest of that last one, go see the full interview here: Kick-Butt KidLit, Philippa Dowding 

And don't forget to enter to win a copy of OCULUM! Lots of great authors and prizes on the site, go now ... enjoy ... read Canadian! And remember, if you love a book, review it on social media somewhere. Your favourite author will thank you.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The 5 Stages of a Book Cover for Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet

Coming September/2019, Dundurn Press

A book cover is an amazing thing: salesperson, storyteller, harbinger of the delights to come inside ... plus, in the case of the Weird Stories Gone Wrong covers, a work of art.

But how does a book cover come to be? 

Here's the cover for Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet, book six in the award-winning, middle-grade horror series. The amazing illustrator is Shawna Daigle, who has done all six beautiful covers, and by my count, a whopping 46 inside illustrations for the series in total. They are all works of art.

Together, Shawna and I usually have a pretty strong idea which moment in the story we want on the cover, most often it's the inciting incident (but not always). 

Below is my ludicrously rough first drawing for this cover (never said I was an artist, brace yourself), a starting point for Shawna, and Shawna's take-away from it: 

First roughs for the cover of Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet. Author's version and Artist's.

That's the very beginning of the cover, first step. I don't usually do a rough for the cover, but in this case I did. Note, Shawna does not require the use of callouts to make it plain what she's drawing. 😊 Her snow LOOKS like snow, for instance. Mine just says the word "snow."

Next step, the editor, illustrator and author discuss finer points of the illustration. This is the stage to make any BIG changes (not after it's inked). In this case, we settled on colder weather clothes since the story takes place on a frozen distant planet, and added a girl with braids (to highlight a main character). The next stage of illustration from Shawna, incorporates these changes and is painted:

Shawna Daigle, the cover for Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet, step two: painted.

After this step was approved, then Shawna built the beautiful final cover in Adobe Photoshop. Here it is, digitized:

Shawna Daigle, final art for the cover of Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet.

I often think this stage in the cover design is so beautiful, that we should make posters and raffle them off to readers. In fact, I think we'll do that for the launch of this book next fall! Note to self ...

AND, finally, the art above is turned into a cover by the publisher, Dundurn Press. There are a lot more than just 5 steps involved in the creation of a piece of art like this, and countless hours spent by Shawna in the process, but these are the broad, main steps. We've had such fun with this series which began in 2014, and in the coming months stay tuned for posts about the books, process, writing and more. But for now, take a look at all of Shawna's incredible covers:

All six covers of the Weird Stories Gone Wrong series, 2014-2019,
by Philippa Dowding (Author) and Shawna Daigle (Illustrator)

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Introducing Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet ...

Coming Sept. 2019 from Dundurn Press

Here it is, the amazing cover for Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet, book six in the award-winning Weird Stories Gone Wrong Series.

The gorgeous cover captures this middle-grade resistance dystopia perfectly. Series illustrator Shawna Daigle has done it again! I'll be talking more about Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet in the coming months, but for now, here is the back cover copy:

"Quinn might get used to the food, Work Bots, and creating the Blue Brick™… but why are children all around him turning blue?

Quinn Fleet, 12, Packager, (QF12P) has only been at the Work Centre for three days, but he’s already seen a Caver run away, faced interrogation, and been made to stand in front of a crowd of children in the Grand Hall to apologize for breaking a Blue Brick™. 

That's when he notices that apart from being thin and ragged, all the children at the Work Centre look so ... blue.

Why are the children turning blue? Why can they make the strange blue spark when they snap their fingers? What’s the blue shimmer? And why do a renegade Work Bot and an Officer want Quinn to lead the oldest children, the NewBlues, to the sanctuary of the Quiet, Quiet?

But more than all that, what is the Quiet, Quiet, anyway?

A resistance dystopia for younger readers, Quinn and the Quiet, Quiet is the 6th book in the award-winning Weird Stories Gone Wrong series."

More about Weird Stories Gone Wrong on this BLOG