Hello everyone and welcome to the cover re-reveal for D.A. Smith’s excellent Japanese-inspired Dark/Historical Fantasy, The Blood of Outcasts! I absolutely loved this book when I read it back in March and I recently was able to make time to write down my thoughts about it. You can read my full review here, if you’d like. Spoiler alert: I absolutely loved it!
I’m so excited to show you all Dan’s gorgeous new cover, but before we get to that I also have all kinds of extra goodies that I can share with you, including an exclusive map reveal (I LOVE MAPS), as well as a short interview I had with the author about his new cover, map, and more! Be sure to check it all out below!
Also, the one and only Petrik over at Novel Notions also participated in revealing the new cover, so if you’d like to check his reveal out you can do so here!
Did you have an idea of what you wanted your cover to look like? What direction did you give the artist?
I had a specific scene in mind – I won’t describe too much here as it might be a spoiler – and so it has to be said that I really was quite specific with Masako, down to her stance, scars. I sent Martin the excerpt from the book, too. He really was very patient with all the detail I gave him.
Obviously, I was absolutely shocked when I received the final piece. It was as if he’d pulled the scene directly from my mind. There’s not a thing I would change about it. Martin is an exceptional talent and I look forward to working with him on the other covers!
Does the cover reference a particular scene in the book?
Yes. It is the scene I most enjoyed writing and most enjoy reading back. Without going into too much details, it’s the start of something that has ramifications throughout the book and series.
What’s your favorite thing about this cover?
I have to pick one thing?
Masako’s scar. It is her. Without knowing anything else about Masako, you could pick her out of a crowd because of that.
SFF cover art routinely blows me away with how beautiful and creative it can be and yours did just that. Can you tell us who created your cover and a little about them?
The cover artist is Martin Mottet (www.martinmottet.com) and well, what do I know about Martin? He’s a wizard of the art world! No, really … he took a couple of paragraphs of words in an email and turned it into what you’ve seen here
Why did you decide to go with that particular artist?
What do you hope the cover makes people feel?
Excited, intrigued. I hope they want to read to find out just why on earth are those people charging through the walls …
Thanks for having me, Justin. I really get appreciate the chance to get to waffle a little bit about the book cover I’m in love with!
Obviously, there was a lot of thought put into creating the world for The Blood of Outcasts. How crucial was the worldbuilding specifically related to the story that you’ve written?
Absolutely pivotal to the story – this is the world Masako interacts with, hates, despises and loves all at once; before I could work out what went so wrong, why she felt a certain way toward systems and establishments there, what she loves and why she fights, I had to know the world. Also, there’s obviously the feudal Japan aesthetic. I needed it to look and feel like the (Tokugawa era but take the themes of the Warring Period) while also standing on its own, not relying on previous knowledge.
I picked it apart, really did my research and drew on years of reading about the history, myth, then put it back together as something slightly new. Obviously, I wear my influences on my sleeve, but I must respect them – and that point of respect is crucial. I knew if I wanted that aesthetic, I also needed to acknowledge where it came from carefully.
It is really true, there would be no story without Masako, but her core beliefs, focus and drive rely on the ancient world the story admires.
Did you have an idea of what you wanted your maps to look like? What direction did you give the artist?
I had a scrappy bit of paper I’d drawn many different iterations over and I’d also used some online software to flesh it out a bit, but it still had its limitations – there was a fully-formed idea, but Tilly made it fresh and well, a lot better.
I’d wholly recommend her services if you’re looking to spruce up an existing map or even commission a brand new one, she listens carefully, draws skillfully, and doesn’t mind last minute changes because you’ve forgot to add the name of a clan on the original map …
When thinking about fantasy maps, are there any that stand out as your favorites?
Hmm, immediately the map for Hollow in Nick Martell’s The Kingdom of Liars and Evan Winter’s map for the Burning series sprung up in my mind. It will probably sound bad, but I don’t often refer to maps while reading, but those two I really like.
Do you have a favorite part of your own map?
I like the Demon Mountains because they represent the unknown, the limits the people of Basho have gone and really … it’s just a great big mountain range. What’s not to like? I’d imagine they look pretty impressive in person.
Okay, without any further ado, it’s time to show off the new cover! But, stick around, because there’s a few more treats in store toward the bottom of this post!
The Blood of Outcasts by D.A. Smith
Series: The Banesword Saga #1
Genre: Dark/Historical Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: January 3, 2022
Publisher: Self Published
And, there she is in all her rage-filled glory, ready to use her blade to great effect, Masako! I love this cover so much! Past the pure, unadulterated gorgeousness of it, it’s vibrant, dynamic and captivating. From Masako’s scar to her katana poised halfway out of its sheath, and beyond to the pure animalistic fury on the faces of those rushing toward Masako.
In a further bit of good news, the author gave me permission to tell you that the hardcover edition of The Blood of Outcasts will be available to purchase on 05/26/2022!!! Be sure to hit up the purchase links down below to snag a copy for yourself!
I also thought it would be really fun to show Martin’s process, so check out the gallery below for a look at the full cover wrap from the initial sketch to the finished product!
Bonus Map Reveal
About the Author
I’ve been writing for as long I can remember, drawing first and adding stories to them, building worlds and places for my characters to belong in, but that wasn’t enough. As an avid SFF reader, that consumes way more books than I have shelf space for, I thought it was time I turn my hand to being a novelist.
I wrote my first novel a few years ago, which has yet to see the light of day (nor ever will), and found that writing is in my blood, my passion, so I’ve stuck to it. Ever since I’ve been tinkering away with short stories and a few novels that I’m proud of, I’ve got a few trunked, and one seeking an agent, but I’m very proud of The Blood of Outcasts, it’s my love letter to Rurouni Kenshin, the comics I read, and everything SFF.
I’m an English Linguistics and Language graduate working in journal publishing, and this would be my debut; I also review SFF novels for FanFiAddict and my short fiction has appeared in ‘Pride: The Worst Sin of All’ (Black Hare Press, 2020). I’ve also had work narrated live on air at Pop-up Submissions. Last but not least, I’m soon to be married and am co-owner of a crazy (go figure) spaniel.
Author Site: https://da-smith.co.uk