Today on the Barnes & Noble Teen blog, we’re excited to share an exclusive cover reveal and first look at Tanaz Bhathena’s new fantasy, Hunted By the Sky, set in medieval India. She stopped by to share a bit about the process of building the story and creating its cover.
I’ve loved stories about magic for as long as I can remember. Books about witches, vampires, werewolves—I read them all, even though I never really had much confidence in my ability to write one.
Fast forward two decades and suddenly I’m here, with a fantasy set in a world that drew me in the moment I sketched out the map. I knew, as I began writing Hunted By the Sky, that it would be a fantasy set in a world inspired by medieval India. Yet, I also knew that it would not be a retelling of Indian mythology. I wanted to write a fantasy in a world of my own making—a world where girls and women not only did magic and wielded weapons, but also possessed deep political ambition.
My editor, designer, and I all agreed that we wanted to see a fierce girl on the cover of Hunted By the Sky. There were discussions on whether or not the cover should be illustrated or if a model should be hired. I strongly leaned toward the latter; for me, there can never be enough book covers with beautiful brown-skinned girls on them.
Luckily, I got to work again with the amazing Elizabeth Clark at Macmillan, who designed the covers for my first two books (A Girl Like That and The Beauty of the Moment). When asked for image inspirations, I sent in pictures of daggers and floral motifs and arched Indian doorways. I chose a model from photos that were sent to me—the lovely Tara Gupta, who instantly made me think of my protagonist, Gul.
It was the first time I was involved to this degree in the cover design process, which was both exciting and intimidating. I’m grateful to both my editor and designer for conscientiously listening to my feedback, ingeniously incorporating it, and making alternative suggestions, wherever needed.
When I saw the final cover, it took my breath away. The font, the color scheme, the arch, but mostly the girl, who compels me to pick up the book every time and see what lies within. I hope you all love this cover and I’m delighted to share it with you!
Hunted by the Sky hits shelves June 23.