Cloaked Shadows is coming hot and fast and I can't be more excited for the book to finally be in your hands on February 28th! To help prepare you for this new, YA Fantasy release, I've compiled a list with everything you know so far about the book. March your calendars and let's get reading!
1. Cloaked Shadows is the start of an awesome new world that is Nevera
I have big plans for the world of Nevera in the future, and the Cloaked Shadows duology won't be the only set of books revolved around the cold, terrifying and daunting world. Cloaked Shadows starts at a time that is still very new to the people of Nevera. They've just recovered from a war, if you could call living in poverty 'recovering', and are living in the aftermath, whilst the deadly Sinturi who partially started the war still lurk in the shadows. I plan to release books that not only are set in the past of Nevera but also the present and future. There's a lot more to come!
Check out Nevera's map below:
2. I was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and the traumatic events that happened to me in 2020
2020 was a difficult year for many, however I found it particularly difficult. You see, I would never have wrote Cloaked Shadows if I didn't suffer traumatic events, such as being thrown out of my home with one hours notice. I had grown up in foster care for the most part of eleven years, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to quite literally tell me that I had been in care long enough and had to leave my home that day. Can you imagine how scared I felt? Luckily, I had somewhere to go but I know many who haven't been as lucky.
Not only that, but the world was also plunged into a wrath of chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic so, naturally, I became depressed. For me, when I've been really struggling to the point of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, I turn to writing to help pull me out of that hole. So, I used what was happening around me to write Cloaked Shadows. I thought, 'what if we could see the virus and it took a deadly form?' and the antagonist group, the Sinturi - deadly beasts who consume souls of humans in search for magic - were made, often described in the book as a plague.
3. Cloaked Shadows features a relatable character list
When I wrote Cloaked Shadows, I ensured there's a small piece of me in every character. The main protagonist, Ikena Ralliday, is a strong woman who deeply cares for her family, but at the same time she also has her flaws, such as pushing those around her away. The book briefly touches on real situations and illnesses, such as anxiety, panic attacks, loss and more.
One of the characters is LGBTQ inspired, and each character has a back story and their own struggles and flaws that, simply put, make them human.
Take a look at some of the character drawings below (in order: A Sinturi, King Elion, Dalmask):
4. I designed the cover myself
I studied graphic design in school/college and have been a whizz at Adobe for the most part of my life. However, in this case, I didn't feel the need to use Adobe, proving that authors with no design experience can create a beautiful cover for their book, using sites like Canva. Canva allows you to input your measurements and get creating. For me, I wanted my book to be simple and reflect a coldness to it that was a large theme of the book. The background features a royal-like background, as royalty is also a big part of the book, and the vines reflect being trapped, as well as helping to portray a coldness to the cover.
5. The second book is coming in 2021
I've already finished the first draft of the second, and final, book in the Cloaked Shadows duology. Timelines are never set in stone, but I am certain that the second book will be available in 2021. I'm hoping for a June/July release, but you never know it might be earlier or later. You'll just have to wait and see!
I can say that I have the title and designed the cover of the book already!
Cloaked Shadows is available to preorder now and there are unique gifts on offer when you preorder. To find out more go to www.melissahawkes.com/cloakedshadows.
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