Bringing a fantasy world to life can't be easy, so I want to say a massive THANK YOU to Lisa Evans the illustrator of the Dark Tree Shining cover. It's the detail on this cover that I find fascinating, and the more you look the more you see.
The book (which is the sequel to Red Moon Rising) is set in the little village of Skellmore but a lot of the story occurs in Hobbin Forest, a place full of deadly faerie rings and fierce hobgobbits. This forest has always been important to the Fair Eyes, especially the Thorn tribe with their power over trees, but now evil has entered the wood. I was particularly thrilled by the crows at the top of the picture as they bring this sense of menace alive. It's so brilliant when a story and a cover work together like this. Here's an extract from the story... with crows!
Laney looked from Fletcher’s serious face to the mass of trees on the other side of the field. There had always been something odd about Hobbin Forest. It didn’t seem like an evil place, just very old as if it knew ancient secrets it would never share. People would come and go while the forest remained, wrapped in its own mystery and not caring about the wave of human life sweeping by. Wouldn’t the Shadow find it the perfect place to hide?
She lifted her chin. Maybe going in there and facing her fear would get rid of it. ‘We have to check the forest sometime,’ she said. ‘I think we should just get it over with.’
‘Fine,’ said Claudia. ‘But it’s a huge place. It’s going to take ages.’
They hurried towards the forest. Laney tried to keep up with Claudia’s long graceful strides. She looked up at the dark treeline just before they plunged inside. A mob of crows flew squawking above the topmost branches, filling the air with their ragged, black wings.
If you go to Lisa's website www.firefluff.com/ you soon realise that all her work has this fascinating attention to detail and she has the ability to evoke atmosphere in her pictures. Dark Tree Shining is out in 4 weeks. I'm so pleased that the story was given a cover illustrator with such great skill and imagination!