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Finding a cover – Guest Blog

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No one could argue that the cover for Balance of Betrayal is my most striking to date. I am so grateful to Jonathan Rew-Dixon, my photographer friend, who came up with the concept and Clare Metcalfe who took the actual photo. This week, Jonathan has written a guest blog, to explain how he arrived at the idea.

It was a privilege when Cate asked us to help with the front cover image of Balance of Betrayal. My first thoughts were ideas about weighing scales on a wooden bench with bloodied coins and a dagger or a mask and a noose but they all seemed to be a bit of a cliché. Cate’s work is a lot more about the actions and feelings of characters than simple narrative and I felt it needed something more.

I considered the consequences of suffering betrayal more than anything else – you think that everything is alright, then suddenly, your world changes forever. I wanted an image that would effectively portray this.

I’d had some early thoughts about leather gauntlets and jesses and this lead me on to thinking about birds of prey and I considered the idea of using a hooded hawk to represent how justice is blind. The hooded hawk was a bit too tenuous a link to ‘betrayal’.

Birds of prey did still seem ideal for the medieval type setting of the Bremmand Chronicles so I went back through a collection of images that my wife Clare and I took at a recent Birds of Prey workshop for more inspiration. In there I found a number of images, but the most striking was one of Clare’s images of a barn owl holding a mouse in its beak just prior to devouring it.

It fitted the concept of betrayal beautifully – the mouse moves quietly and in secret. The owl watches above and the moment the mouse makes its mistake and betrays its position, the owl dives in on its prey.

From there, I sent the image to Cate for her approval and she really loved the bird of prey idea. I then worked on a number of versions for her – monochrome, blue hue, various crops – and we settled on the colour version that now adorns the front cover of her latest book.

My huge thanks to Jonathan and Clare. It has been a joy collaborating with you on Balance of Betrayal and look forward to many more wonderful covers.

Cate Caruth is the author of the Bremmand Chronicles. To buy her books or learn more about them, go to www.bremmandchronicles.co.uk

You can follow Cate on Twitter at www.twitter.com/catec23

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