Guest Post – Cover Art and Symbols

Kimber An is an old blog buddy of mine–you’ve seen her here before! She writes YA fantasy and science fiction. Her Ophelia Dawson novels are a blend of both, like many urban fantasies. Except, since these take place in the wilds of Alaska, they are decidedly not urban. The first book is Sugar Rush, the second (a novella) is Crushed Sugar, and the third, newly released, is Sweet Bytes. Here, she writes about the symbols in cover art.


Cover Art & Symbols

By Kimber An

Good morning!  My new book, Sweet Bytes, was released by Noble YA last week and I’ve been seeking out cover contests.  C.H. Scarlett did it and I was just stunned.  I’m still rather stunned!  Isn’t it gorgeous?  So, I thought I’d post about the cover symbols.

I was a blogging book reviewer before publication, like Tia, and I’ve seen, I don’t know, thousands of book covers maybe.  And I’ve read the woeful tales of authors who got stuck with cover art they hate.  It seems like every author gets at least one book cover they can’t stand.  A few get more than their fair share.  Only rarely does an author score great cover art every single release, it seems.  Lisa Shearin is one whom I think has been blessed by the cover art angels.  I’ve loved all of hers.

I’ve loved all of mine too!

My latest completely stunned me.  I think maybe it’s the bear and the ice coupled with the young woman obviously longing for her mate.  I think in pictures.  My stories create themselves in full color images like a movie on Blu-Ray.  But, they’re all jumbled together.  I have to work very hard to sort them out in a story.

Sorting out the images for a book cover is beyond me.  I’m baffled how an artist can take all these images and come up with such beauty.

Okay, so here’s the symbols on the Sweet Bytes cover.

First, you have the heroine, Ophelia Dawson, long red hair and in a gorgeous formal dress.  It’s her prom dress, in fact.  The skirt was long, but it ripped half way off while fleeing and fighting the baddies.

Second, you see her spotting a young man in the distance.  That’s Adrian, her soul-mate.  She believed he was dead.  Now, there he is, alive.  How will she react?

Third, you see the ice and snow glistening under an enormous full moon.  That symbolizes Alaska, my home state and where most of the series takes place.

Fourth, the bear is Shesh and she represents Alaska Native culture, which I’ve intertwined with the Scandinavian roots of Ophelia’s family.  Shesh also represents the strong maternal instinct to protect, wisdom, and the wildness of Alaska.

Finally, you see the ravens flying.  In Europe, the raven represents death, but in Alaska the raven is revered for its intelligence and ability to endure.  In the Ophelia Dawson stories, the raven represents the Benevolent Oldbloods, the good vampires.

I love symbols.  I guess because I’m such a visual thinker.  You can convey so much meaning in one image.  It’s powerful.

Thank you, Tia, for having me here today!


Sweet Bytes
by Kimber An

Ophelia’s escape from Martin, an Addicted Newblood, came at a terrible sacrifice.  Adrian, the boy she loves, is now infected and hunted like vermin.

As her new Protector, Tristan Li represents the Oldblood determination to destroy Adrian, along with all the Newbloods, addicted or not.

In her grief, Ophelia hates everything about Tristan, until his subtle strength empowers her to resist being turned into a vampire by the High Prefect.

As Tristan helps Ophelia harness her empathic ability, his need for redemption rings in her heart.  Her own strength grows, along with her passion for freedom.

The veil of mourning lifts.

The evil of Martin returns.

Ophelia seizes ownership of her destiny.


3 Thoughts to “Guest Post – Cover Art and Symbols”

  1. Thank you so much for having me over today, Tia!

  2. Chicory

    Wow, that’s a gorgeous cover. I love how you broke down the elements in their symbolism. The sharpness of the dark blue dress against all that white is really eye catching, as is her red hair. Really beautiful.

  3. That’s a fantastic cover! I enjoyed reading your breakdown, too. You definitely won some sort of sweepstake with that image.

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