We thought we might share with you some behind-the-scenes moments in the making of THE LOST HEIR. First with the cover art then with some commentary on the opening chapters.
One of the most common questions we get asked is, "Who does your cover art?" His name is Josh Addessi and he has done all of our covers for us. We love Josh's art and we love collaborating with him. At the beginning of each project, we give him a general idea of what we want and then we step back and let him run with it. He shows us sketches/mock-ups along the way looking for some feedback. It's a lot of fun and always super exciting to see his latest renditions. Whenever we open up a new art file from him, we almost always squeal! or exclaim! or otherwise freak out! about how amazing it looks. It will usually take him about a month from beginning to end. Check out this first sketch he did of THE LOST HEIR. Wouldn't you squeal?
Behind the Scenes - Cover Art
PROLOGUE: An Urgent Message
G: Imagining the world from Gladwin's point of view was so much fun. Being only five inches tall but able to fly... We loved playing around with perspective there, with Waldrick's "giant" hand coming to get her.
E: And Oxley's giant knees towering over her.
E: Ah, Waldrick. My favorite line of his in this chapter is "I don't speak bumblebee."
G: Who do you think would make a good Waldrick if they made a movie of this?
E: Hmm, lots of good choices... You could go in a scary direction with Mark Strong (seen in Stardust and Sherlock Holmes)...
G: Or more of a suave, smiley version of Waldrick with someone like Jude Law or Ioan Gruffud, or go totally against character and put "Mr. Darcy" Colin Firth in there. I would love to see him as a villain! It would have to be a guy who could be charming enough to make the world believe he was a major philanthropist, while being a total scheming villain when the world's not looking.
E: People also might like to know, interestingly enough, that the opening scene of the Prologue with the "creature" was one of the last passages to be added.
CHAPTER 1: The Pickpocket
G: Jake and Dani sprang to life very quickly in the writing of these scenes.
E: I think that has to do with all the character profile work we did before we started writing.
G: One of the things I love about Jake is his attitude. Many times middle grade protagonists are shown as being agonized with insecurity and riddled with self doubt, and it can make them come across like a sad, limp, little dish rag.
E: Yeah, that's a downer. Not really fun to read.
G: We wanted Jake to have a little bit of Peter Pan style confidence: "Oh, the cleverness of me!" (Famous line from Peter Pan. Plus the fairy friend.) So Jake's insecurity is buried a little deeper and almost always comes out filtered through his smart-alecky humor. In his view, it's the rest of the world that's crazy, not him.
E: Then there's Dani, who is probably G's most autobiographical character. Trust me, you don't want to get her Irish up. :)
Chapter 2: A Family Resemblance
G: It was tricky getting Waldrick's character right, striking the balance between making him comedic yet sinister.
E: Yeah, we learned that pretty quickly! Some readers may wonder why we let him spill a few pieces of basic background information to Jake in their first conversation--why that info wasn't hidden. The reason is simple--it gets down to the difference between a MYSTERY and a SUSPENSE story. They are not the same thing. G, why don't you explain the difference?
G: Sure, it's pretty simple. A Mystery is where the facts about something that has already happened in the past are the focus - the puzzled must be solved. The ending has to do with the sleuth putting all the pieces together, as in a Big Reveal at the end. The all-important questions in a mystery are "Who dunnit?" and "How was the crime done?"
G: Suspense focuses on the good guys preventing a bad thing from happening in the future. Sharing too many facts with the reader up front would ruin the puzzle-solving of a mystery; but you have to share certain facts in a suspense to inform the reader of the bad thing that is probably going to happen if the bad guy gets his way.
G: Mysteries are about figuring out a terrible thing that's happened; suspense is about stopping a terrible thing from happening.
E: Yeah, but often these two can be combined.
G: That's right. As is the case in THE LOST HEIR. Jake has to figure out what happened to his parents...
E: And stop something similar from happening to him.
G: It really ticked me off when one industry person after reading an early manuscript suggested that we take out all these suspense hints, setting up the bad stuff to come, and drop it all in later, weave it through. The person obviously didn't realize she was asking us to change the whole genre of our book.
E: I guess that's why you have to trust your own judgment. We decided to stick to our guns, and tell our story our own way.
G: Yeah, I really don't do mysteries. They are too dry and cerebral for me. I prefer suspense because they rely on characterization and emotion much more than mysteries. The personalities don't matter very much in mysteries. How much do we really know about that "Murder She Wrote" lady, for example, other than she's a nice lady and a writer and so on? All very external stuff.
G: Characters go deeper in suspense books, which are generally more emotionally intense, because they're often fighting for survival, and that makes you question deep issues like the meaning of life and who you are as a person.
Chapter Three: A Knight of the Order
E: Chapter Three continues to unfold the story world of The Gryphon Chronicles by introducing a few new characters, starting with super-bodyguard Derek Stone.
G: I always liked the dynamic in The Terminator between Arnold Schwarzenegger's character and the spunky boy he had to protect. That's probably where some of the inspiration came from for the interaction between a warrior figure who's super strong and brave, but sort of emotionally challenged, and a kid who helps him find his humanity again.
E: Well, I think every kid who's ever run afoul of a bully at school would love to have either a Terminator or a Derek Stone escort him to his locker. Another unique characteristic we gave to Derek Stone was some Parkour skills. That's an amazing thing to watch. Check out this video of some kids being trained in Parkour or Free Running.
G: But Derek Stone's not the only new character who makes a first appearance in Chapter Three. We also introduce through Jake's flashback a mysterious female character who becomes important later in the story. No spoilers here, but suffice to say she lives in the river and has green hair.
E: The third new character you meet in Chapter 3 is one of our favorites - Constable Arthur Flanagan, the Victorian London "bobby" or policeman.
G: As someone with three police officers in my family, I have a soft spot in my heart for the men and women in law enforcement.
E: Except when they give out speeding tickets. Baaaad G! What's yer hurry, lil lady?
Well, that's all for now! Hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes of THE LOST HEIR. :)
All the best,
E. & G. Foley