I have found that in life, being in the right place at the right time, usually applies. On the early morning hours of the 5th of July 2016, I woke up and was instinctively led to my computer to search for a cover for ‘Soulflowing Fire’. Back then I had been working on the book for a little over a year, translating it from Greek to English and editing the stories to be as good and as fluid as possible. At the time I thought that I was nearly done and all I needed was a cover. Little did I know however, as it took another 2 years for the book to come out, due to me getting all sorts of ideas for the ‘Otherworld’ stories and the world inside which they take place.
Regardless, thinking that I was nearly done, I needed a cover. I knew that I wanted something special, something that looked as if effort had been made to create it and wasn’t just a collage of stock images; more and more nowadays at train stations or airports I’ll see modern-day covers that somehow manage to look like they were made at the same book-cover factory, indistinguishable from one another.
ΧΘΩΝ/CHTHON is not your everyday entity however. Quality and aesthetics matter. Half of the book is about Ghidorrak and his adventures, him hunting dragons and collecting dragonblood; we’ll talk about Ghidorrak in more detail some other time, but the last story about him in the book tells of when and how he saw a dragon for the first time and the reasons for his actions and why he ultimately did what he did. But I sort of digress, and I do that quite a lot; it’s the storyteller in me.
That morning I probably googled something like ‘fantasy book cover’ and clicked on the first website that came up on the results. When browsing the fantasy section, this majestic illustration by Kim Dingwall (@kimdingwall) came up as the first result and I immediately knew it was the right cover; the colours, the pen sketch, it was all there, it was what the cover needed to be. I could imagine Ghidorrak’s awe in the light of sunset, and how he’d remember that day.
After conferring with my partner and a couple of advance readers who’ve been following me for years, I bought the cover a couple of hours later. Kim also created the spine and back-cover for the physical releases, and the cover, spine and back-cover were also edited and prepared for release on other online outlets by Rob Williams (cal5086 on Fiverr).
Going back to the beginning, about being in the right place at the right time; I think Kim had only put the cover up for sale a day or two earlier, based on her Instagram feed from back then. As I said, the book was released 2 years later, on the 3rd of July 2018 and the English version is now available pretty much everywhere. I am extremely proud of the result; these are stories that were written since as far back as 2006 (with ‘The Dragonhunter’ being the first one of them). I will be coming back to some of these stories in the future, for the ‘Otherworld’ series. We’ll talk about the illustrations included in the book in the coming days/weeks.