Today we are thrilled to unveil the amazing cover for Shadowboxer, the new upcoming novel from Arthur C. Clarke Award winning author Tricia Sullivan.
Without further ado, behold: the Smugglerific Cover!
The Smugglerific Cover
Nothing she’s faced in the cage will prepare her…
Jade is a young mixed martial arts fighter. When she’s in the cage she dominates her opponents—but in real life she’s out of control. After she has a confrontation with a Hollywood martial arts star that threatens her gym’s reputation, Jade’s coach sends her to a training camp in Thailand for an attitude adjustment. Hoping to discover herself, she instead uncovers a shocking conspiracy. In a world just beyond our own, a man is stealing the souls of children to try and live forever.
Tricia Sullivan on the Cover
I should probably come with a CONTROL FREAK warning label. My house may be messy and I never know what day it is—but on the page I’m a glutton for power. Maybe that’s because everything in my novels comes from my heart and soul. I build the world from wishes and memories and spit duct tape. I research. I call up characters out of thin air, wrestle with the plot, sculpt the language. I’ve fussed over each detail of what’s between those covers and I’ve agonized over every flaw. For better or worse, all of those words are down to me.
But when it comes to what you see before you pick the book up and start reading, it’s out of my hands. In traditional publishing, cover art isn’t part of the author’s remit. And can I just say, for someone like me that’s torture.
With Shadowboxer I was carrying an extra layer of angst because I already knew the YA field has its problems with whitewashing book covers. It’s not such a long time since the Book Smugglers wrote this and I can remember very well the recasting of the covers of Liar and Magic Under Glass that only happened under public pressure. Important conversations are happening right now about diversity of all kinds in the publishing industry, but let’s face it: we are pulling ourselves out of a deep trench of racist practices that have been unexamined for too long. There is a lot of work to do.
So maybe you can imagine my ecstasy when the conversation with Ravenstone went like this:
Ravenstone: Hello. So what were you thinking for the cover?
Ravenstone: We were thinking about X, Y, or possibly Z. What are your ideas?
Me: Are you talking to–? Wait. Do you mean me?
Ravenstone: Open to your thoughts!
Me: *pinches self* Ow! Not dreaming.
Seriously, I still can’t get over the fact that when I brought up my concerns my publisher didn’t tell me to take my control freak self out to the shed to breathe into a paper bag and count to ten thousand. I was included in the concept discussion and I got to see rough art and offer my input. Nobody batted an eyelash when I explained that the image of Jade on the cover had to represent her ethnicity (Dominican-American) as well as her temperament (fierce). It took a little bit of back and forth, but artist Erik Mohr looked at the images I sent him of real boxers from the Dominican Republic and came up with a depiction of Jade that I think captures who she is.
But this isn’t just a novel about a young fighter in contemporary New Jersey; that’s only part of the story. Shadowboxer also has a supernatural strand involving an otherworldly forest that is home to animals and immortal beings. One of the characters has the ability to step in and out of this forest at will and can traffic magical substances through it—so there is crime. And where there is crime, there are ghosts. That’s a lot to convey in a single image, but Erik has integrated the forest with the urban landscape so that Jade seems to be in more than one world at the same time. There’s a lot of darkness in Shadowboxer, but there is also hope and I think you can sense this in the use of lighting.
The quote from Patrick Ness on the cover says, ‘Sullivan writes novels that are so entertaining they’re almost embarrassing—seriously, when was the last time you read a really smart book that was also fun?’
Another quote that you can’t see here is from Justine Larbalestier, Andre Norton Award winning author of Liar and Razorhurst, who wrote: “Shadowboxer is a fast-paced, gripping contemporary dark fantasy thriller. Everything about this book feels utterly real from the monsters out of Thai mythology to the cage fights but especially the incandescent Jade Barrera whose passion and fury are sometimes bigger than she can control.”
Every time I read Justine’s quote I grin ear to ear. I worked so hard on this book, and it wasn’t easy—but it’s finally done. I’m delighted to be able to share the cover with you thanks to the generosity of Ana and Thea. I hope you like it.
About the Author
Tricia Sullivan is an Arthur C. Clarke Award winning author of science fiction novels for adults. She lives in Shropshire, UK with her partner, MMA trainer Steve Morris, and their three children. She has a six foot Muay Thai bag in her shed. On a bad day she can hit it pretty hard.
To celebrate the cover reveal, we are giving away 3 copies of Shadowboxer! This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL, and will run until Saturday, July 5 at 12:01am EST. To enter, use the form below!