A chat with Tom Edwards Pt.1

Illustration by Tom Edwards. spaceship fighting. All rights reserved by Tom Edwards

Tom Edwards is one of the most sought-after artists by authors today. A talented illustrator who, after a stint as a concept artist at Codemasters, a UK based games company, decided at the start of 2015 to break out and begin a career as a freelance artist.
I was delighted when he took the time to answers a few question, hope you’ll enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. And thank you, Tom!

You have some fantastic artwork, how long have you been doing this and what is your favorite part of your job?

Thank you. I’ve been painting for years, but professionally about 7 years. I love the freedom I have, and being able to work with a lot of different people.

If there was one thing you could tell to writers who approach you for work, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of asking for exactly what you’d like on the cover.

Tom is the consummate professional. Not only is his artwork top-of-the-line, he is communicative and clear, he keeps his deadlines, and he both listens to the input I give him and offers his own insights as to what will work best. I’ve worked with Tom on three book covers, and he has exceeded my expectations each and every time. His ability to translate a written brief into a captivating image that tells a story and excites the reader is truly exceptional. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have worked with someone so talented and professional. I offer Tom the highest recommendation I can possibly think of.
Ira Heinichen, Author of Starstuff

What should writers know that would make the process easier and faster?

Try to have a good idea of the brief. Include a description of the various elements, possibly from the book.

Tell me about your premade covers.

The premade covers we’re actually an idea from my partner, Nat. It was basically a way to give authors a cheaper alternative to a professional quality cover. I try to make them generic in the sense of details. I think this allows them to be used for a lot of different sci-fi stories.

What are some examples of your latest and greatest covers?

2018 has got off to a great start. I’ve worked with Jasper Scott on his upcoming Broken Worlds: The Revenants. This is yet to be released (Note: Release date April 18, 2018.)but is available for pre-order:
USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0793H3WKG/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0793H3WKG/

I’ve also worked with Scott Bartlett on his latest Ixan Legacy novel, Pride of the Fleet

Illustration by Tom Edwards Illustration by Tom Edwards

Both of these clients have been with me for a few years now, and I’ve done quite a few covers for both, especially Scott.

How long does a cover normally take from start to finish?

Around 5 – 10 working days. Some take me longer depending on detail and changes, and others take a lot less. Jasper needed the new cover quickly, so I managed to get that one done in 3 days.

All images, copyrighted by Tom Edwards

Author A. M. Rycroft has a new book out!

Shadowboxer cover

Shadowboxer: The Gathering Dark Pt. 1 (Cathell Book 4) , the newest book in the Cathell series from A.M. Rycroft is out and ready to be read. It’s always great to promote indie authors and artists so I welcomed the chance to write about her work and toss a few questions her way.

Shadowboxer
joy thief Into the darkness The Taming

You have just published a new book, what can you tell me about it?

Shadowboxer is the fourth book in the Cathell series overall, and the first book in a tight story arc called “The Gathering Dark”. It follows Thystle Moran from books 1 and 2. She receives a summons from the young cleric who helped her and her friends kill the mad god known as The Harbinger (book 1, Into the Darkness). Colin tells her that he’s seen men digging around The Harbinger’s tomb, and he needs her help to stop them.

It looks like it’s part of a series could a new reader just jump in and enjoy the read?

Absolutely. When I write a new book in the series, I work hard to make sure that if a reader starts at book 3, they’ll be able to understand what’s going on right away. And I know some readers have picked up book 3, loved it, and went back to read the rest of the series. Book 4 isn’t any different. It loosely picks up where The Joy Thief left off, in that it starts to answer some of the questions raised in book 3, but readers definitely don’t need to have read book 3 to understand what’s going on or who the players are.

What would you like to tell the reader about the Cathell series?

The Cathell series is a dark sword and sorcery series that features strong female characters of all ages and professions — they don’t all carry swords or fight — and an overall diverse cast. I don’t really like how “white” some fantasy is, so I’ve done what I can to bring in many different types of people into the cast, from all types of backgrounds, races, etc. The mythology is of my own making as well. I borrow some aspects of the typical European fantasies, but I’m equal opportunity as to the cultures — and sometimes, time periods — that I borrow from. Nothing follows our known history.

Is this the last book in the Cathell series?

Not a chance. I’m just getting started. There are at least three books in “The Gathering Dark”, plus a few more planned for after this arc. I’m also writing some novellas and short stories that center around some of the side characters, like the ship captain Reegan McCullum and Vincent, the owner of the Fallen Rose Inn, where Thystle has a permanent room. But I’m also working on another series called The Fall of Kingdoms. The first part of the first book, Corruption of Honor, was released in novella form in December.

What got you started writing?

I started writing when I was very young, but I never considered a career as an author until after I quit art school. I had this crazy dream about the character who would become Aeryn Ravane in the first book in my series. I couldn’t shake the dream, so I decided to write it down, and it became a book. The writing bug bit me pretty hard and that point and the rest is history.

For the writers reading this, what motivates you and how do you recharge after a long writing session?

The characters in my head motivate me. There are times when I don’t really feel like writing because I’m tired or not feeling well, but then one of my characters will kind of poke me and say, “Well, what about this scene? Would you like to write that?” And, of course, I say, “Heck, yeah.”
If I’ve had a particularly long writing or revisions session, I like to wind down by watching sports — hockey and football, mostly — or playing a video game. If it’s late at night, I’ll read, even if it’s just on Facebook. I’m on there way too often for my own good.

I love horror, what is the best part about being part of the Horror Writer Association?

The support of the other authors and publishers who are members. You wouldn’t think horror and dark fantasy writers would be such a tight-knit group, but they actually are. It’s probably because we tend to be thought of a little like the red-headed stepchildren of the writing world. Yes, we’re often weird, but we’re also quite nice people when you get to know us.

In the context of being a creative artist, what makes your heart sing?

When a project really starts to come together. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing or working on a graphic arts piece. I’m not really happy when the piece is fighting me, but when it really takes shape and I can see how great it will be when it’s done, I’m over the moon.

Lots of writers have pets who sit with them while they write. How about you? Any special writing companions?

Not anymore. My furry best friend, a big orange tabby, passed away a couple years ago. He was my writing companion for about 14 years. I still expect to see him parked by the radiator in my office sometimes. But we do have plans to adopt another cat or two soon, so who knows, you may see pictures of my new writing buddy on Facebook soon.

A.M. Rycroft website: www.writinginadarkroom.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amrycroftwriter/
Twitter: twitter.com/amrycroftwriter
And Her Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/A.-M.-Rycroft/e/B00YPW642W/

P.D Workman eh!

From the talented P.D.Workman, we have the newest release in the “Auntie Clem Bakery” Series

(Hey now, we can’t do horror all the times! Sometime we gotta come down from horror overdose)

And check out number 1 and 2

P.D is a talented and writer from Canada (That right there, you know she extra nice, eh?)

She took the time to grant us a mini-interview and I found her answers touching and very interesting.

What has influenced your writing the most?

I know the usual answer is a particular author, book, or teacher. But for me, I think the thing that has influenced my writing the most is my feelings of compassion and empathy. The stories that I read in the news that I often end up clipping for use in future stories tend to be about injustices done, people in dire circumstances, articles that are biased against the victim, etc. A lot of the time they feature abuse, mental illness, or homelessness. I can remember many times as a young writer, watching a movie or listening to a song and being so overwhelmed by emotion that the only way for me to handle it was by writing it out. Writing has always been the best way for me to deal with grief, depression, or other stresses. As much as I would like to give all of the homeless teens a hug and take care of them, or to somehow reach out to comfort everyone suffering from abuse, mental illness, addiction, or other disorders, the best way for me to touch the most people and influence social change is to write.

So I will continue to study and write about those issues, even when I am writing in a more lighthearted genre like my recent cozy mysteries. You’ll still find characters with checkered backgrounds, physical and emotional challenges, and dealing with discrimination and injustices.

What was the most challenging mental health issue you explored/featured in your writing, in which book?

There have been some real doozies. Probably with the trauma bonding, PTSD, and depersonalization disorder suffered by Chloe in book #4 of the Between the Cracks series. It was truly gut-wrenching to write about what she went through, both externally (the abuse) and internally (depersonalization et al.) I really internalize what I am writing, so living inside the head of a character like Chloe can be really hard.

Chloe is part of a series, but it can be read as a stand-alone book.

A quick line of advice of any beginning writers or artists?

It is an amazing time to be writing. There are so many opportunities for us to learn, share, and spread our words. Don’t let the naysayers get you down, whether they are experienced writers, family members, or friends. You are learning and growing in your craft, and as long as you continue to do that, great things are going to come.

P.D. Workman (Pam)

Read more about about her and the varied works she has written on her website.