Cover of The Importance of Pawns

The Cover of Importance of Pawns

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Princesses as Pawns in the French Renaissance

The 4-volume series about Anne of Brittany and the people in her life features famous Renaissance paintings on their covers. They may cause you to ask, why don’t you use images of the real women such as Anne, Claude, Renée?

Cover of The Importance of Pawns

10 March 2021, I released The Importance of Pawns, the first of a four-volume series called Chronicles of the House of Valois. It is the last in the series, or Book 4.

In this book, Princesses Claude and Renée must confront the death of their beloved mother, Queen Anne of France, who was also Duchess of Brittany.

Summer 2022, I released a second book in the series, The Importance of Sons. It is number 2 in the Chronicles of the House of Valois series and tells the story of Anne of Brittany’s first marriage to King Charles VIII of France.

In the spring of 2024, I will release Book 1 in the series, The Importance of Wives, which tells the tale of young Duchess Anne of Brittany and how she came to marry and why.

There is still one more book to go. It is the Importance of Heirs, Book 3 in the series. It answers your question: what happened to Queen Anne after King Charles died?

The covers may cause you to ask questions such as why don’t you use images of the real women such as Anne, Claude, Renée themselves. Let me explain.

Beautiful Covers Attract Readers but not all Princesses are Beautiful

Sad as it is to me, who knows the women of my French Renaissance ladies intimately, many of my readers do not. They would not recognize one from another even if they were the only pictures in the art gallery. Why should they? That is part of why they have picked up my book. But if we believe the paintings and the testimony of witnesses, most of my princesses were not beautiful. Yet if the picture on the book cover does not appeal, readers will pass it over. So my cover has to be attractive.

The cover also needs to suggest the content. I write about French Renaissance court women. I write about individuals, about girls and young women, about their struggles and challenges, and how they confronted them. Their real issues,

Finally, since my books are part of a series, they must have a similar look and feel. Yet each must be different enough that readers can easily tell them apart. So once I chose Renaissance paintings, my cover designer pointed out I needed to stick with that approach. To differentiate among them, I needed both to select images related to the book content, and paintings with contrasting colour palates. By using paintings in the public domain, I could keep the costs reasonable while creating an original cover.

Who are the People on the Book Covers

After I had chosen black for my first cover background, I needed a different colour. As with my previous book, I tested many images and colours with my trusty beta readers. Eleanor of Toledo with her son won hands down, even though she was Italian/Spanish and mid-16th Century, not early 16th Century French.

Both my choices have raised the wrath of purists. I do not apologize. I write fiction, not history, and my book covers must attract readers. They reflect the story themes and they fit the era. And they’re gorgeous.

I wanted a beautiful French princess for the cover of The Importance of Pawns. I wanted to hint at the difference in ages between the older and younger sister. There are no beautiful pictures of either Claude or Renée, and none at all of Mme de Saubonne, their gouvernante. The painting of Isabelle de Bourbon is beautiful and colouring of the unknown young Italian girl blended beautifully.

It is a beautiful cover. The tenderness of the gesture hinted at by the older girl’s encircling arm gives a subtle sense of the story mood.

Since I am not yet ready to reveal the cover for The Importance of Wives, this is still dark. I will give you a couple of hints though. The husband is French, and the wife is not. It reflects one of the story themes. Of course it has a different background colour than the other two.

The Cover Designer is Jenny Q

Jenny Q, a historical covers designer and editor, created my fabulous covers. She worked with me every step of the way. It was she who taught me the importance of consistency of look and feel coupled with the range of colour to maintain the coherence of a series. She also introduced me to the choice of the right typography for the genre and its placement on the cover. I cannot thank her enough.

She is also Chair of the Historical Novel Society North America Conference again in 2025. All historical novelists should attend. It is a great event.

Spring Release 2024

One more thing to celebrate today, A spring release date for may next book. To find out more about the amazing ladies who star in the Importance of Pawns novel, read the post on my blog.

And you can buy The Importance of Pawns on Amazon at any of these links:

Amazon USA

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Amazon France

Amazon Mexico

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