Sunday, September 28, 2014

Progress on "Chaser"

Things are moving forward with Chaser. I recently received a cover mock-up which had some good points but also some bits I didn't like. I'm waiting to see what the artist comes up with. I'm only obstinate about a few things, mainly my desire for the image of the protagonist to be suitably badass. I'm sure I'll be okay with the cover image as long as Boiler ends up looking imposing or dangerous. It's perfectly fine if she's attractive or sexy, but I just feel that shouldn't be where the emphasis is. I think a random person's first-glance impression of her should be along the lines of, "She looks like she can punch hard enough to crack open a cue ball."

I first created the character a long time ago, adding her into a series of stories separate from the novel's setting. I came up with her father (Jack Hammer, the main protagonist of my first two novels) the same way, and gradually figured out who they were. I made a few changes here and there when I decided to use them in my novels, but they remained basically the same.

Back then, one of my friends drew several sketches of Boiler. Here's one that should give a pretty clear idea of her physicality and personality.


So, I'm not looking for an exact match of this in the final version of the cover, but I'm hoping it'll capture the general look of the character.

I received an interesting request from the artist a few days ago. The artist wanted to know if I had any favorite artists I wanted him/her to try to emulate. There are many artists whose work I really like--Boris Vallejo, Bob Eggleton, numerous others including a ton of people posting their work on DeviantArt and other sites.

But oddly, when I think about the setting of this novel and my previous two, what comes to mind immediately is the last couple of Saints Row games. The areas of Neon City where the primary characters live are outside of the sleek, gleaming, high-tech places where the people with all the money spend their time. The images I have in my head of the places Jack, Corona, Taura, Boiler, and the others live and work in are partly inspired by sections of Steelport such as the industrial area that ends up overrun by zombies in The Third.

Granted, a subplot in Fifteen Minutes has Jack and the girls moving into a house in a fairly wealthy neighborhood, but they're not exactly at home in that sort of environment.

Anyway. One of the things I particularly like about those games is the lighting and shadows in some scenes, so I sent a few screenshots to give the artist a general idea of what I meant.








As a side-note, it took a while for me to get my player character to look the way I wanted. There were always little details that weren't quite right that I kept tweaking, some of which involved using mods created by fans of the games. Finally got her to look right in Saints Row: The Third...then Saints Row IV came along and I had to import a non-modded version of her. The mod I needed was updated, and then it took quite a bit of adjusting various settings, and I think I finally got it right shortly after the How the Saints Saved Christmas DLC was released.











And now I'm drifting off-topic, heh. So, anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing the Chaser cover image, and things are progressing. Hoping the book will be assigned an editor soon, which will take it another step closer to actual publication.

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