Every conversation I had with a family member to tell them ChiZine Publications had offered to publish two of my novels included the sentence: “And the books will have great covers!”
Because ChiZine does covers like no one else. I mean, look. I am such a fan of Erik Mohr’s work. And now, my novel has its very own Erik Mohr cover! And it’s exactly right.
One of my favourite things about it is the expression on this lady’s face. The main character of Armed in Her Fashion, Margriet de Vos, is a middle-aged wetnurse in Flanders in 1328. The phrase “strong female protagonist” has become a cliché in the book world. Margriet … isn’t quite what people usually mean by that phrase. She’s not plucky; she’s grumpy. Although this is a fantasy novel, Margriet doesn’t have any magical powers. She’s a little flabby and wakes up with aches and pains (in fact, for most of the novel, she’s sick, but she’s fighting anyway). She’s strong in the way that, well, I’m strong: she’s stubborn, and can endure just about anything, and doesn’t take any crap. Margriet also has a character trait that I don’t have: She never, ever lets go of a grudge or a debt. If she lived in 2017, she’d be the kind of person who demands to see the manager over the small print on a 50-cent coupon.
I see all of that in those few simple lines of the face of the women on this cover. There are a few women in the novel that could fit the “her” of the title (Margriet’s daughter Beatrix; Margriet’s employer Jacquemine; Gertrude, a woman raising her children in the family forge-mill despite the ravages of war around them; or the novel’s antagonist, the Chatelaine of Hell). In some bigger sense, the title’s “her” is a universal one. But to my mind, the title applies to Margriet most of all, and she’s the one I see in this cover.
Armed in Her Fashion is coming in the spring of 2018.