Today is the fifth and final instalment in this series I put together for #Norsevember and features D.W. Ross and Bjørn Larssen. I hope you have enjoyed discovering more about how an author makes that all important decision about what to put on the cover of their book! All that remains is to say “Tusen takk!” to all of the authors who took part. May your longboats be blessed with calm seas and favourable winds and may all your drinking horns be filled with the mead of your choice! Skål!
D.W. Ross Author of Cold from the North and The Darkest Dusk
The Cover Design Process
I chose this particular design because weapons play a pinnacle role in the story. I also wanted something super eye catching with good colours that pop.
I found my designer, the wonderful Cherie Chapman, on Reedsy and after a few chats and ideas I knew she was the right person. Her work is incredible and uses colour so well. The process was so easy and Cherie was amazing at taking my ideas and making them work.
I would absolutely recommend Cherie to anyone, she’s a dream to work with.
About the Designer
My name is Cherie Chapman and I’m a designer specialising in fiction book covers ranging from 9+ to adult.
Over the last six years, I’ve worked with Hodder & Stoughton, HarperCollins, Bookouture, Bonnier Zaffre, HotKey Books, Piccadilly Press, Avon, Head of Zeus and Canongate.
I am a highly organised and dedicated person. With every project I take on I am truly passionate from start to finish. I am more than happy to work independently or collaborate creatively with a team to meet tight deadlines and to create the best possible product.
The Onyxborn Chronicles
Cold From the North
Driven by the promise of an ancient prophecy which will bring the dark ways of an old god back to power and prominence, an army of invaders swarms Ogulf Harlsbane’s homeland slaughtering all those who oppose them.
Along with his people, Ogulf must seek refuge from this savage force. In his search of sanctuary, he is tasked with finding the one person who can put a stop to the onslaught.
Doing so will send him across lands and seas, have him and his closest friend navigate the intricacies of a civil war, and try to win the help of the princess fighting for her throne.
If he fails, darkness will prevail and the reign of the Onyxborn will begin.
The Darkest Dusk
Following on from D.W. Ross’ debut novel Cold From The North, The Darkest Dusk is the next instalment of the adventures of Ogulf Harlsbane and his allies as they attempt to thwart the advances of malevolent forces trying to take over the realm of Gelenea.
Battle lines are drawn all over the continent as the march of The Order of Maledict continues, Ogulf and his companions must summon magical weapons which have the potential to even the odds, and all the while powerful new players emerge among the fray, bringing with them vast armies and new abilities as the struggle for control intensifies.
With the fate of the world in the balance – can they march of the Onyxborn be stopped?
About the Author
D.W. Ross is an author who took the boredom of lockdown 2020 to another level by deciding to write a book despite having no experience in doing anything of the sort before – to say he never thought he would get this far is an understatement. One book has become a series, and now there is no stopping his creative mind as he plots books daily that he will absolutely never get to writing. Cold From The North was his first novel, with follow up The Darkest Dusk which came out in 2021 with the closing novel of the Onyxborn Chronicles coming in early 2022. When not writing, he can be found watching pro wrestling, reading fantasy, dystopian and thriller novels, gaming, lifting weights and eating chicken wings. D.W. lives in Scotland with his wife.
Bjørn Larssen, author of Storytellers, Children and more recently Creation, and Wisdom the first two books in the Why Odin Drinks series
The Cover Design Process
The audience for Creation and Wisdom are adults with a childish sense of humour – the eternal 13-year-olds – who are interested in Norse mythology, like to laugh, and are fans of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. I had a problem figuring out how to make the books look like fun, but fun not suitable for kids. Stock photos of scary Vikings, but with funny typefaces, didn’t quite cut it.
Then I saw, randomly, an illustration by Chelsea (Ragrfisk) – one of her Gunnars (check out www.instagram.com/ragrfisk for explanation on Gunnars) and I felt a ping. THIS was it. For extra amazingness she turned out to be a Viking/Medieval Norse Studies grad student living in Iceland. Who could do a better job figuring out Odin, his brothers and Audhumla, the celestial cow? The adult touch turned out to be Odin’s– ah– much lower abs, which Audhumla finds greatly unimpressive…
I combined the illustration with the Cinzel font, used on a lot of fantasy covers. A blogger I’m friends with gets irritated every time she sees Cinzel, but that’s how books work; my historical fiction book, Storytellers, didn’t sell until I changed the typeface to Essonnes, which basically says “this is a historical fiction novel.” Cinzel says “this is fantasy.” Combined with the series title being Why Odin Drinks (instead of the original How to Be a God, which didn’t convey the “adult” part) the cover hit the right audience – at least, so far. It doesn’t hurt that it’s awesome.
Above, the process from sketch to finish.
The second book in the series, a collection of three novellas, will be called Wisdom. We took a similar approach. Here, seductively clad Odin discovers that the famed well of wisdom is actually the well of Sir Daddy Mímir, the leather-clad Wise Dom. (My re-tellings of myths might not be literal translations from the Eddas…) Once I have completed the original drafts of all three stories, this was the strongest visual I could come up with that said – this is not serious, but adult-not-serious. With the help of a friend, who finds bodybuilding to be of great interest, we figured out where Odin’s nipple should be (nowhere visible in this position) – which required lots of wisdom… Odin and I will see ourselves out. Daddy Sir Mímir probably won’t, unless you ask very nicely.
About the Illustrator
Ragrfisk is a freelance illustrator and purveyor of large men and as such would have drawn this cover for free if I’d let her. Find her work here:
I draw big dudes, D&D characters, and dogs.
Viking/Medieval Norse Studies grad student and freelance illustrator.
Creation – Why Odin Drinks (Part 1)
In the beginning there was confusion.
Ever woken up being a God, but not knowing how to God properly? Your brothers keep creating mosquitoes and celery and other, more threatening weapons. What can your ultimate answer be – the one that will make you THE All-Father and them, at best, the All-Those-Uncles-We-Don’t-Talk-About?
“FML! That answer’s why I drink!” – Odin
Perfect for fans of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, and Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Wisdom – Why Odin Drinks (Part 2)
Due Out on April 1st 2022
Odin isn’t happy. His brother isn’t dead. His future-telling wife, Frigg, sends him shopping. Loki asks Helpful Questions. The obvious thing to do is to hang himself from the Tree with a spear in his side for nine days. Once he gets the runes (and bonus charms), will he figure out where Madame A, who almost definitely isn’t a floozie, gets her boots from?
Frigg isn’t happy either. When Freya, her brother, her hubris, and her miniskirt pay Frigg (and her sweatpants) a visit, Frigg decides to look into the future and become the vanguard of haute couture. While she’s at it, she might as well witness it all… what does one wear on The Final Day?
Desperate to learn what women think, Odin heads for the well of wisdom… guarded by the Wise Dom. Can he afford to pay for a sip – but, more importantly, should he?
The second instalment in the nearly universally (except Vanaheim) acclaimed Why Odin Drinks series answers way too many questions, including ones on Freyr’s entendre and horse designing.
About the Author
Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. Born in 1977, he self-published his first graphic novel at the age of seven in a limited edition of one, following this achievement several decades later with his first book containing multiple sentences and winning awards he didn’t design himself. His writing is described as ‘dark’ and ‘literary’, but he remains incapable of taking anything seriously for more than 60 seconds.
Bjørn has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). His hobbies include sitting by open fires, dressing like an extra from Vikings, installing operating systems, and dreaming about living in a log cabin in the north of Iceland. He owns one (1) husband and is owned by one (1) neighbourhood cat.