The Cover That Wasn’t

On my sidebar you’ll see a link under “Other Sites” to the artwork of my friend, Connell Byrne. I wanted to explain more about why it is there.

Back in 2002, when I first signed my contract with P&R to write The Binding of the Blade, discussions about cover art and artists began. As those who have read in the series know, Larry Elmore, a very well established fantasy artist was eventually chosen and he has done the covers for the series. In ’02 though, this hadn’t been arranged, so I suggested to P&R that they check out my friend Connell.

In addition to the work he’d already done, he and I decided to make a mock cover based on a painting he did to illustrate what art in Kirthanin might look like. In other words, rather than a typical stylized fantasy cover, we were thinking of five covers that would have more of a symbolic connection to the world, like the kind of art that might have emerged from people in that world in those times.

So, to give Beyond the Summerland the “summery” feel that I was going for, he did the painting that you see below.

If you know the books, you will recognize the “King Falcon” with the sun behind him. If you recall, the King Falcon was pretty important to Beyond the Summerland and Joraiem’s growing prophetic consciousness. Connell made a digital image of the painting and added a the title above and author name below, and we submitted that to P&R as a cover proposal.

In the end, P&R was nervous about departing so far from traditional fantasy cover art. They wanted the book to be “recognizable” as fantasy just by a quick glance at the cover. Admittedly, Connell’s cover probably doesn’t fit that description. All the same, I think it is a very strong, attractive cover and it might well have drawn attention to the book because it is so unique. At this point, the issue is moot.

I really loved the painting, and I’m excited to be able to finally display it for BOTB fans around the world. If you’d like to see more of Connell’s work, just click the link in the sidebar. Connell lives in Maryland & if you’re in that region, you might see his work at various shows about the place.

11 thoughts on “The Cover That Wasn’t

  • cool!
    it’s very eye catching.
    kinda makes me think of a desert
    I’ll have to check out the website

    on a side note….is AMHM 90% complete because of how many months till it’s released, or is it cause they have a cover or something else?

  • ohhhhh…!
    I’m not exactly sure what that is but I’m betting it has to do with how the words in the book look.

    I’m so excited for AMHM!
    and my friend is too!
    when I told her about AMHM most likely having ‘you-know-who’ in it she was jumping up and down(she just recently read books1 and2)

  • Frankly, I don’t care for the Larry Elmore covers. I think Connell’s cover would have been better for these books. The “traditional” fantasy covers are kind of silly, in my humble opinion.

  • yes’sir. I’m pretty sure I told her it was my theory.

    I honestly don’t know how it wouldn’t be included if the Renewing of everything is happening.
    but I am also used to dealing with authors making sure that they aren’t saying anything that would give away something they don’t want known for a fact….so 😀

  • I’m glad you like Connell’s painting, DanTheMan. I agree that it would have been a striking cover, though of course, I can’t say for sure what affect it might have had on sales since I don’t really know…

  • I’m not sure I thought both covers were great and related to the story well and peaked my curiosity.

  • Wonderful painting, Mr. Graham. I’m not sure if it fits “Beyond the Summerland,” but it definitely is better than most of those typical fantasy covers out there. I’d want one in a similar style for my fantasy story – the design has an old and mystic feel.

  • I’d have to say that the cover your friend made is very bright. I think it would fit perfect with Beyond the Summerland! And with that–I’m guessing that’s a King Falcon or a windhover?

Comments are closed.