This is my second spec for a cover, based on a dramatic moment towards the end of the book.
target ages, 9 – 12.
Book title: ‘Abigail Saltminder. 1 – the complex’
Author: Toby Zara.
Background: Set in yet another dystopian future. Mankind is now living in colossal towers, known as v-cities. Abigail is a teenager: short, round, as sharp as a knife and very tough. She dresses in army style fatigues and large, practical boots.
In this first book she discovers she has a special power (yep, I know – of course she has) enabling her to control animals. She joins up with another ‘special’ – Tom – and together they try to escape from the complex (set in the African jungle).
OK, here’s the key moment . Abigail and Tom (Abigail’s age, frail, has his right leg missing) are trying to escape by stealing a Starburst – a two seater spaceship about the size of a Ford Fiesta. In the book it has a dome, which can be retracted.
But they have been spotted. David (young, handsome, charismatic and evil) and a couple of soldiers are about to capture them. But Abigail has managed to control some hyenas, which have been racing through the jungle to help.
It is set at night, in a military compound, so there is a tall fence and arc lights. In the background – should you want – there is an elephant, which Abigail has used to flatten a part of the fence.
As this is for children the cover needs to be dramatic rather than graphically violent. I see it as perhaps the escapees in the foreground, scrambling to get into the flyer, while the threatening soldiers (being in turn flattened by the hyenas) in the background. Dunno. No artist or designer me.
And one other thing: one of the ‘characters’ that is present in all the books is a small white fluffy bichon like dog. Maybe he and Abigail, in silhouette, could form a full stop in the title script? Either after ‘Saltminder’ or after ‘complex’
From the book:
The Starbursts’ dome slid back and Tom tumbled in. He closed his eyes to concentrate and immediately a rising hum signified the Starburst was warming up. All this had only taken a few seconds.
“Shoot them!” David shouted. He managed to kick one of the soldiers. “They are deserters from the Space army!” His voice was loud. “I order you to shoot them!” he repeated.
The soldier lifted his gun; Abigail could see the end of the barrel pointing directly at her. At this range he couldn’t possibly miss.
But he was not used to shooting at unarmed girls, and hesitated, lowering his weapon. “Shoot!” David’s voice was high with pain and tension. The soldier raised his gun again, but he was too late.
The hyena crashed into him, tearing at his arm as he fell backwards. There was the sharp crack of the gun as it sent a bullet skywards.
And then the other hyenas arrived like solid, four legged furies. The two soldiers heard a growl and then were bowled over from behind as the animals sprung on them.
The all three went for the fourth soldier, the only one left standing.
Who suddenly he threw away his gun and ran off. Abigail swung the animals towards David.
Growling, they advanced towards him. With a lurching yank, David tore his hand away from the Starburst and stared at her, his eyes glittering with an insane fury.