Choosing a cover for a novel can sometimes feel as though it involves as much head-scratching and chin-tugging as writing the book.
The initial cover for By the Time Dawn Breaks – A tale of mystery and magic in the Canary Islands involved a woodgrain background, representing a chest one of the characters finds, on which there were outlines of the seven main Canary Islands (apologies to relatively newly promoted La Graciosa which, as it is part of Lanzarote, isn’t quite the same as the other ‘official’ Canary Islands) and a red cross, in the best pirate ‘here be treasure’ fashion. (Spoiler: there are only passing references to pirates in the book.)
I liked the idea; it captured various elements within the novel. But it just didn’t work.
A few other ideas were tested until I settled on the cover below.
But what is it, and why did I feel it was a perfect fit for the story?
It is a sunrise, so that clearly has a direct connection. The darker land in the foreground is the forest in La Gomera’s Garajonay National Park. Less obvious, almost blending into the hazy shadows where night reluctantly hands over the baton to the dawning day, is Mount Teide, looking more like a vague shadow than the third highest volcano on the planet. Being able to represent two islands in a novel where seven of the islands make an appearance ticked a box. But it’s more the almost ethereal presence of Mount Teide that I particularly liked, so faint it might go unnoticed. For me, that lends it a spectral quality that fits with the theme of the novel. The three distinct shades also represent the passage of night into day, so that fits neatly as well.
Then there are the women dancing across my name. They symbolise … well, they are there for a reason. But you’ll have to read the novel to find out what that is.
But the fact I think the cover works isn’t important. It’s what potential readers think that matters. Will it draw them in or not? That’s the key question.
By the Time Dawn Breaks – A tale of mystery and magic in the Canary Islands will be published on 24 November 2023.