I have less than 10 chapters left to edit with Caught! As I’ve been toiling away on the words, I was thinking about the images. I’m a huge fan of art. I often say if I were rich, my “rich guy purchases” would all be related to art. When I go to conventions, I collect business cards and buy the art from those around.
My brother Ben Duke was the artist who created the chapter icons for The Journals of Bob Drifter. I’ve been a huge believer in my books being opportunities for many people. My best friend from junior high did the cover for Journals.
Ben did amazing work on Journals, but he wasn’t able to do the icons for Caught, so I looked to give someone else an opportunity. Along came Jessica Tahbonemah. I’d originally hired Jess to help me with my social media presence. She messaged me and asked if she could give the icons a shot. I gave her a loose concept and a few images for inspiration. She worked hard and sent me the first image…
This image is the chapter icon for Kaitlyn. As this is a book about characters trapped in a repeating series of night terrors, these icons represent their dream avatars. For Kaitlyn, her avatar was this minotaur. You see this creature quite a lot in the first half of the book. This was the image that Jess basically “auditioned” with, and I knew when she finished it that she was going to do well.
I’d seen a video when I was a kid that stuck with me. I can’t even tell you the name of the song even though I’d looked it up when I was trying to explain my vision to Jess. This is the icon for Chris. The man on fire is central to Chris’s back story. I like the energy of this image. I did the most work with Chris in edits. I wanted to make his role in the story more relevant. I feel I’ve accomplished that with these edits. As you can see, I’m quite unreasonable with my demands on my artists. With Journals, I asked Ben for a glass of Scotch. Here, Jess asked what I was thinking, and I replied with, “I need a man on fire.” She sent an initial concept, and after I looked at that is when I sent a few stills from the video. I think it’s funny because I can’t remember a note or word from the song, but that image stayed with me for decades.
So I followed a demanding image with a few that were more simplistic. Graham is an intriguing character for me in terms of motivation. He got more lime-light when I removed another character’s POV. Graham’s role is more pivotal, and these glasses are a common “beat” in his chapters. It’s simple, but it’s honestly the best, most recognizable symbol for him.
Caden is one of my all-time favorite characters. He really forced me to stretch as a writer, and he’s been a character screaming in my head for more than 20 years. The original concept (which evolved from outline to draft) was about characters facing their fears, and Caden is NOT a fan of “the bad chair.” I mean, who isn’t afraid of this symbol? The electric chair is every bit as symbolic as the act of binding and the act of blinding. Jess did an amazing job with all the elements I wanted in this image. It’s VERY complex. I have to give her credit though, the shadow was all her idea.
This image required a lot of research. First off, Ben (my brother, beta reader, confidant, advisor and all-around best friend), wasn’t a fan of the name of Steve’s team. You recall a deleted scene I posted in an earlier blog? Dom and Kira are members of his team. We played around with a few options. Ben sent me a text with the name Oneiros. Oneiroi are symbols of dreams in Greek mythology. So search after search lead me around until I found this image of Morpheus, the god of dreams. Morpheus is also a hyponym of Oneiroi, which means dreams. Oneiroi are the brothers of Hypnos, Thanatos and Geras. To get this image for Steve, I stayed with the teams name and a symbol of their namesake.
Sal is the main character, and his image and part of his back story (the mundane part I assure you) comes from my own experiences with Combat Camera. Lions are important symbols in the places I’ve been (particularly Iraq). One of my main jobs in Iraq was to document the training and missions of a joint group known as the Golden Lions. Since documenting those missions was such a big part of my first combat deployment, I wanted to give a part of that to this character, who’s a patriot, a soldier, and a protector above all things. Again, I’m a bit nostalgic. This image and the minor role it plays in the book is just a tip of my hat to a team I was very proud to work with.
And there you have it. The six chapter icons for the six points of view from my next book. What do you think? Which is your favorite? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. As it is, I have about 8 chapters left to revise, edit, and proofread, so I’m going to get back to that.
Thanks for reading,