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  • Writer's pictureR.F. Hurteau

The Art of Antiquity's Gate: Three Days Till Dawn

I wasn't quite sure how to go about transferring the vision I had for Antiquity's Gate onto a cover that would do it justice. After all, I've poured my soul into these stories, shouldn't the covers reflect the same kind of love?

I had a long list of demands, too, in part because my husband, who is also heavily invested in this series, is extremely picky about art. He likes a wide range, but he had a specific vision in mind for this. A vision that couldn't be achieved without hiring someone who not only drew in the style we were looking for, but would also be willing to sign on for the entire series. There couldn't be much that would be more disheartening than investing in beautiful art and, halfway through, having to find a new artist. The style wouldn't match, the feel would be off. No, whoever we found would have to fit our criteria AND be willing to do all eight novels. A tall order.

We searched for a long while. We looked at many beautiful artists. Some of them were so far outside of our price range they might has well have lived in an alternate reality. Some were just far too busy. Some couldn't commit. Many were awesome but weren't what we were looking for. This stage, for me, was one stress-filled day of searching after another until the days turned into weeks and then months with no clear idea of where we were going. But we were patient. We had little choice.

It was at this point in time that I began to break down in tears at random intervals over nothing, wondering, however irrationally, if my stories would never see the light of day for want of a good match. Should we settle? No. I couldn't. I didn't stop writing the book halfway through…I wouldn't put half of my dream on the cover.

Then it happened. One of my beta readers, a member of the writing community for whom I hold the utmost respect, finished my story. She said she wanted to talk, and the butterflies in my stomach were all a flutter. What did she have to say? It was either really good or really bad to warrant a call. I trusted her to be honest, but would I be pleased or discouraged by her reaction?

As it turns out, I was not pleased. I was blown away. EJ Dawson loved my story. I could tell by the way she spoke that she believed in it, and by the time she has spent since coaching me toward the right path that she believed in it very strongly. We stumbled on the subject of art, and she pointed me toward an unassuming Twitter profile. @Nushdraws.

Nushie's banner image was precisely the style we were hoping to find. It had an 80's X-Men card vibe and was a beautiful portrait. We wanted our cover to convey the character-driven story within. And Nush could certainly draw characters.

I held my breath as I gushed my way through that initial email, spilling my soul and just vomiting my thoughts onto the screen. Would they be willing? What was the process like? Could we afford to do this?

I will spare you the details of our back and forth discussions and tell you where we arrived in the end. We are now in a committed long-term artist-author relationship, and we're both very happy. Nushie has been a dream come true, and so patient as I muddle through my first experience commissioning art.

So, here it is. This is the beautiful art that now graces the cover of Antiquity's Gate: Three Days Till Dawn. I could not be happier if I tried.

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