I thought it might be fun to shed some light on the creative process here at Engen Books by showing the things that didn’t make it to the production floor. It’s a truism that you can learn as much about people by what they don’t say as what they do, and I don’t think we’re any exception.
Ignorance is Bliss was the first Engen title to receive international distribution. The seven titles published before it were only available directly through us, back in the early days of small-press publishing when acquiring a distributor was difficult. As such, the cover was a turning point for the Black Womb series: we could stay with the black & white ‘horizontal window’ look we’d been using all along because of the limitations of our first printer, or we could shift to a new design.
Those who know we I’m slow to change on such matters, so it should surprise no one that my initial impulse was to stay the course. Thus was born the cover above: which remained black & white despite our new printer being capable of color, and retained the design scheme of the first five Black Womb novels, albeit with a slightly bigger size.
There was resistance in the office. A ton of it. The art was based on the character of Mike Harris and — much like the first Black Womb cover — there were some that didn’t immediately understand that it was a close-up of his eyes. There was always something abstract enough about the early covers that some people would see other things in them. Many people thought this image was of a cliff face (I still don’t see it). And because the new printer could handle higher-quality graphics we upped the quality of the ‘blood spatter’ that had adorned all the covers, but in black & white many people mistook it for beer foam.
We eventually uploaded it onto Facebook and gauged reaction to it to decide if we would change it or not. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative, so we changed the cover and the entire look of the covers for the series, eventually going back and re-printing the original five in the new format.
But there are still some die-hards that lament the change from the black & white ‘pocket paperbacks,’ and some days I’m one of them 🙂
Black Womb’s story continues in Black Womb: Ignorance is Bliss. After being set through the ringer one too many times, Xander decides that his personal life with Julie Peterson needs a little more attention… which is bad news for Coral Beach, because a new villain has come to town with his sights set on one person: Adam Genblade.
Ignorance is Bliss (Paperback)
|Release Date:||October 23 , 2010|
|Book Type:||Paperback (5 x 8 in)|
|Cover Price:||US $11.99 / CAN $12.79 / UK £9.49|
“My favorite aspect of the book is the handling of Mandy Peterson. Despite being a new(er) character, her outsider’s view and voice brings a breathe of fresh air into [the] series… She is eminently enjoyable and, to my delight, her journal entries in Ignorance is Bliss serve as a running narrative, tying the plot together.”
Jay Paulin, Ink’d Well Comics, October 2011
“LeDrew’s work is horror that emerges from the urban fantasy tradition — the introduction of a fantastical element into a true-to-life, modern setting.”
The Telegram, Aug 13, 2010
“I find the Black Womb series eerily compelling… while Coral Beach is like an R-rated Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its characters are memorable.”
Jean Graham, The Northeast Avalon Times