Everyone’s a Critic

The response of my two-year-old niece, codename: Isis, when she saw the ARC of Bitterblue: “It no have pictures in it.”

Well, guess what, Isis? You’re going to like the final version of the book better, because it does have pictures in it. The lovely Ian Schoenherr, who most recently did the art for The Apothecary, has created maps, castle diagrams, various Appendix illustrations, endpapers, the cover page, ornamental chapter openers, and, probably my favorite illustrations of all, double-spread part openers (the book is in five parts) for Bitterblue, and the final result makes me SO HAPPY.

If you “like” the Graceling Realm page on Facebook, you’ll have access to some of the art, which is slowly being revealed there.

The process of working with my publisher and Ian on the art was fascinating. It was surprising — and delightful — to realize how involved I needed to be, and lots of fun, too — I enjoyed every minute of it. Often, it wasn’t until I saw a sketch that I realized there was some physical aspect of a space I hadn’t bothered to explain to Ian, because I’d internalized it so much that I’d forgotten that other people wouldn’t necessarily be imagining it the way I did. I had to re-learn that we all see different things when we read words. And it’s really helpful to have a visual artist picking your book apart and trying to interpret it. Ian found some inconsistencies no one else had caught — like a clock tower I’d slapped onto the wrong bridge — just in time for me to change them in the text. And every time one of his sketches came in, I sat there speechless, overwhelmed by how lucky I was to have an artist who was making my world so beautiful. Feeling, deeply, that Ian was making my world more beautiful than I had ever managed to make it.

Thank you, thank you, Ian, for what you’ve done for Bitterblue. I’m certain Bitterblue herself would love the art too.

By the way, as long as I’m talking about the physical book, I’d like to share something about it, a little book secret that makes this author very, very happy. Look what’s under the dust jacket:

 Nothing could be more appropriate for Bitterblue
than a secret key hidden under the dust jacket

The next part of this post is rawther promotion-y. I apologize for that. I’m trying to put everything all together in one post, so that I can get back to my usual blogging style next time and forget about the release for a while!
Some housekeeping: There’s now a new way to follow my blog. I’ve joined Twitter, @kristincashore. I intend to use it only as an amalgamation feed for my blog — whenever I blog, it will automatically tweet a link to the blog post. I will not be reading @-replies. Please pass my Twitter name on to anyone you think might want to follow my blog now that they can do so on Twitter! 
A frequently asked question: Will I be traveling for Bitterblue‘s release? Yes, I will, domestically and probably also internationally. Domestically, I’ll be at TLA in Houston in April, and then I’ll be doing a book tour starting release day, May 1. I don’t have my times or locations yet for the tour, but I’ll pass them on as soon as I do. I’ll also be at BEA in New York in June, though I don’t know my schedule yet. If there is an international tour, it’ll probably be in the fall. I’ll keep you all posted on that possibility.
Finally, if you’ve visited the Graceling Realm on Facebook, you may already have seen this trailer… but for those of you not on Facebook (like me! I’m not on Facebook), here it is. Thank you to everyone at Penguin who worked so hard to put this together!