As a writer, I like to have visual references for what I’m writing about to help me picture the story in my mind. I’ve shared mood boards before, and I think they’re a fun way to get a peek inside a writer’s head. Usually, I’m collecting these images on my computer or on Pinterest (although I’m moving off that website now).
For the Divine Warriors series, I wanted to try something a little different. I have so many papers and sketches that I’ve collected over the years as I dreamed about these characters and their world. And since you enjoy seeing my reading journal every month, I was inspired to create a journal or scrapbook of mood boards in a steampunk/Victoriana style! These are mostly referencing the first book, but there may be minor spoilers for later books. (And Nexita’s page is a bigger spoiler for book 2.)
I don’t have the rights to most of these images and please don’t take anything as the literal interpretation of a character. You’ll notice that characters often have multiple representations, like one picture for the outfit, another for the face, and so on. You may also realize that none of these are close to the models on the covers of my books, which leads me to a more serious issue.
I can only afford covers that use stock images and that limits me to what me and my designers can find. There are white people on all of my book covers because that’s the vast majority of stock models, especially for fantasy-style or steampunk photos. I hope that someday I can afford more customized covers, maybe with illustrations, so that I can put more people of color on my books. I realize that it’s very misleading right now and so I don’t advertise my books as featuring characters of color–but that is how I see most of them. (Rosa from Fae of Calaveras and Brie, her daughter in Santa Cruz Witch Academy, are both white, but my other books aren’t about white characters.)
Since people like Korinna from Kyratia and Riwenne from Arkia don’t exist in the same world as us, they don’t have direct racial analogs like “Latinx” or “African-American.” I do mention features like Korinna’s dark skin and Riwenne’s curly hair, but I also leave things a little ambiguous so readers can picture them how they want. I realize that most readers will default to thinking of them as white. But here’s how I picture them.
We’ll start with the series overview, which has all the covers, but I’ve covered up the last book’s cover because I haven’t revealed it yet.
And here is Riwenne!
Nexita’s page has spoilers for book 2:
I didn’t bother putting Kyra’s cover model on this page, because it’s nothing like how I see the character. I have to apologize about the guinea pigs, too. I had bigger plans for them that mostly got cut. They have a cameo in book 1 and then they’re completely forgotten about. Maybe I should find a way to bring back the piggies for another cameo, or maybe a side story?
Janera’s page is fun to decorate because her green thumb gave me an excuse to include lots of flowers. Stay tuned for more food pictures later.
And finally, Amena’s page features my original cover for her prequel story. (And now you see why I don’t try to make my own covers!)
That’s all I have for now, but I have many more images that I could incorporate into future journal entries. Let me know if you want me to show more or if there is a particular thing from the books that you’d like to see!