Now… Let’s talk about how we got there, eh? Because this is always the fun part. Ghost Talkers has been turned in since April. On July 1, Liz Gorinsky, my editor at Tor, asked for details for the art department. Here’s the email I sent back to her.
Whee! I love this time of the year.
A WWI propaganda poster is an interesting thought. There were a ton of them that were women-centric, which might be interesting to play with.
Here are some propaganda posters that might be interesting to look at. https://www.pinterest.com/maryrobinette/ghost-talkers-posters/
I have a pinterest board of costumes. https://www.pinterest.com/maryrobinette/1916-ghost-talkers-costumes/
And one of locations. https://www.pinterest.com/maryrobinette/1916-ghost-talkers-locations/
–Do the ghosts look like ghosts in this or do they look like normal folks?
They usually look like normal folks, but slightly translucent and with an aura of colors surrounding them.
Here are some period photos of mediums — https://www.pinterest.com/maryrobinette/ghost-talkers-mediums/
>What do Ginger and Ben look like?
Ginger — Slender, red-headed society belle. She has long hair, that is worn up like a Gibson girl. She is usually in uniform, which looks like this, except with a black velvet collar and a shawl. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/532550724657346848/
She goes dancing with Ben and wears something like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/97320041923277911/
She appears in trousers once, but I think let’s stick to the feminine wear, eh?
Ben – He’s a captain in the intelligence department of the British Army.
“He was leaning against the wall of the warehouse, scribbling something in the tiny black notebook he kept perpetually tucked in his uniform pocket. His long lean figure had always been dashing in evening dress, and seemed to exhibit the British Army uniform to equal advantage. He had his hat tucked under his arm and a lock of his dark curls had worked its way free of its pomade to hang over his forehead. The line of his mustache was turned down in a scowl as he concentrated on his notes.”
>Is there an insignia for The Spirit Corps?
No, but there probably should be. Do you want to give the artist free reign on that, or shall I come up with something?
>Do you have any cover comparisons?
Er… I usually just trust Irene.
I will mention that there are two secondary characters of color that feature prominently and I’d love it if we could get some representation on the cover somehow. One is a Caribbean medium. The other is a Sikh soldier. I’ll understand if they don’t fit, but if the cover winds up having figures in the background, then I’d just like it to not be an all white grouping.
>….and basically, the cover concept memo info.
WWI. The book is primarily a wartime spy novel, driven by a love story. [Discussion of spoilers to keep off the cover] I want something that promises History, WW1, Ghosts, and a love story. But I totally trust Irene to figure out what that looks like.
Notice what I’ve done here. I’ve got reference images already collected so I can just hand them over to Irene Gallo (Tor’s art director) who gave them to the artist, Christian Mcgrath. I have descriptions of the characters. When talking about the cover concept, I describe the feel of the novel, but not the plot.
This is a description of the novel.
Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Hartshorne, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force. Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…
So… what do you think? Does the cover deliver this?