The first book of the series took place in British India of 1919. It was one of WhiteFire's first two titles other than mine, and at that point, I was not designing covers. We hired the amazing George of Tekeme Studios, and he blew us away with this fabulous cover for Shadowed in Silk.
Christine started a Pinterest page for the book, which is where our idea-gathering began. She wanted gold on the cover, to represent the joy of a new dawn. Though "midnight" is in the title (the Partition took effect at midnight), she wanted the images to represent a new day. (Not to mention we already had a night scene on cover 2...)
Our first thought was to use green and gold, to represent the Pakistan flag. The most compelling images we found were of a night sky, and my (very very very very very sloppy) playing around led to this.
So we began with this model picture from Shutterstock. We both loved the pose, and I especially loved the motion in the sari.
Obviously, next we take out the background.
To blur the background in the distance, but not the water up close--because I LOVE that reflection--I duplicated the layer, blurred the top one, and then applied a layer mask and faded the top image from the bottom of the screen upward--that way, the bottom layer comes through in its non-blurred glory toward the lower portion and fades into the blurred image at the top.
Okay, so now I had a great base. I loved where it was going, I loved the way the red and the gold worked together. But now I needed to add some texture.
In the first cover, Tekeme had used a flower overlay that I liked but couldn't match exactly. So for book 2, I used a paisley design. For this one, I wanted something altogether different. So I did a search for "photoshop texture lotus gold" (don't you love the random words you can put together for searches? LOL) and I found this one.
Oh my. Yes. This was the point where my breath got all knotted up in my throat, and I knew I'd found my look. I went ahead and added the layer with Christine's name, making it red. But that layer is also always textured, so I duplicated my texture layer, shrank it down, and this time didn't fade it out. The result was this, and I gotta say, silly as it is, that's it's one of my favorite elements on this whole cover, LOL.
Then I looked at the original texture layer again. And I noticed that it had really cool sides that were not on my cover because I wanted the lotus part to extend off in both directions. How to get those on as the border, without interfering with the nice transparency of the original texture layer? Well, I fiddled with it until I figured out the obvious answer. I pasted it on, narrowed it to fit the width of the book, and then deleted everything accept that border part that I wanted. And voila!
So I emailed it to Christine, who said, "CAN I SHOW THIS OFF?" ;-)
I emailed it to best friend/crit partner Stephanie, who said, "I think this might be my favorite of all your designs!"
I don't pick favorites, LOL. But I do adore this cover. I like the continuity with the other books in the series, but I also like where it's different. I feel like this one was somehow more my design and less trying to mimic that first cover. And I just adore those colors together. So overall, we're all very pleased. =) The Twilight of the British Raj will finish up in style!