Today I would like to welcome author, Jane Kindred, who writes about naughty demons and angels in her series, The House of Arkhangel'sk!
The Hot Guy on the Cover
My upcoming release, The Midnight Court, features a shirtless demon on the cover. (Well, actually, it features a shirtless human model, but let’s not quibble over details.) He’s certainly easy on the eyes, but I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about him being there.
On the one hand, I’m thrilled that my hot demon is getting some cover time.
Vasily is a firespirit, which means he’s literally hot. Descended from the Seraphim, creatures of elemental fire, he has the ability to manifest his intrinsic element as wings of brilliant ruby flame within the world of Man. He can also light a cigar with his tongue, illuminate the darkness with his breath, and generate healing seraphic fire. And if you’re lucky enough to share a bed with him, he can keep you toasty warm throughout a long, Russian winter.
At 6’4” and 220 pounds of pure muscle, with rows of spiked piercings down the sides of his neck and his hair in lava-red dreadlocks, he strikes an imposing figure. But on the inside, Vasily is still the insecure little boy who grew up on the streets of Heaven’s Demon District, desperate for love and approval. Out of all my characters, he’s the one I feel the most protective of. He projects this tough exterior with his unconventional looks almost as a dare for someone to notice him and make something of it.
Since Vasily loves attention, what could be better than a book cover all to himself? And who doesn’t love a hot guy on the cover?
The reason I’m conflicted is that “hot guy on the cover” says romance and sex, and while there are certainly some of both in this series, it isn’t your traditional love story. The House of Arkhangel’sk is primarily an epic fantasy. Not sword and sorcery fantasy (though there’s a little bit of that, too) so much as “rightful heir trying to regain the throne” fantasy, and “battle of good versus evil” fantasy—and all the shades of grey in between.
If that last phrase sounds familiar to you, I’ve used it for a reason. Vasily is the submissive partner in a BDSM relationship between two men—not the usual fare of either paranormal romance or traditional fantasy. He’s also the lover of the female heroine.
I guess all of this begs the question: What kind of cover would accurately represent what’s inside? And I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I just hope fantasy readers won’t dismiss the book because of the shirtless cover model, and that romance readers won’t pick it up expecting a light, sexy read and find themselves dismayed when some rather dark themes ensue.
Ultimately, I think there’s a little something for everyone in The House of Arkhangel’sk, but whether readers agree may depend on to what extent they judge a book by its cover.
I’d love to hear your opinions. What do you expect when you see a book with a hot guy on the cover? Does it make you want to pick it up? And are you more likely to grab the paperback and read it in public, or is it the kind you buy for your ereader and enjoy as a guilty pleasure?
About the author:
Jane Kindred began writing fantasy at age 12 in the wayback of a Plymouth Fury—which, as far as she recalls, never killed anyone…who didn’t have it coming. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. Although she was repeatedly urged to learn a marketable skill, she received a B.A. in Creative Writing anyway from the University of Arizona.
She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.
Jane is giving away an ebook of either Book 1 or Book 2 of The House of Arkhangel'sk, winner's choice. To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering her question, found above, and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Additional entries are available but not required. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway