Cover Reveal for Cherie Priest’s Maplecroft is pleased to reveal the cover for Cherie Priest’s Maplecroft, available this September from Roc. Maplecroft is the first novel in a new gothic horror series, The Borden Dispatches, which follows Lizzie Borden after the brutal (and possibly supernatural) murder of her father and stepmother.

Read on for a behind the scenes look at how the cover was made!


From Blake Morrow, cover artist:

Capturing that did she or didn’t she? vibe of Lizzie Borden was a really fun and unique challenge. Allowing the viewer to judge the woman’s guilt or innocence meant trying different positions and allowing body language to make suggestions. Our model Elissa Mielke did some research the night before on Lizzie’s story in order to embody her and change up her expressions during the shoot.

My aim was to create a surreal image combining photography and texture to capture the viewer and evoke an eerie Victorian feel.

We shot a range of different dresses and different axe sizes… With covers, the more options to choose from, the better, so that we have a lot of elements to choose from to create the final result.


Cherie Priest Maplecroft The Borden Dispatches Elissa Mielke

Model Elissa Mielke wears one of two dresses that were combined for the final cover


From Katie Anderson, cover designer:

For Maplecroft, I worked with the very talented Blake Morrow to create a Victorian cover with a distinctly spooky edge. After nailing down the initial concept, Blake and I chose a model and selected a dress, using vintage photos of the real Lizzie Borden as loose inspiration. A photoshoot was scheduled directly after, where Blake and the rest of his crew photographed and styled the model in hundreds of various poses to give the editor and I plenty of choices to select for the final art. Once a pose was selected, Blake worked his artistic magic, creating a haunting scene for the model to inhabit with purposely muted color and eerie textures. After receiving the final from Blake, I layered a bit of blood spatter to play up the axe murderer theme and add some “pop” against the dark purples, and then a subtle border on the edges as a finishing touch.

For the type design, I wanted to incorporate a Gothic, blackletter typeface to compliment the Victorian feel of the cover. After trying several options, I ended up combining two typefaces to create the title, manipulating the letters in Photoshop until it looked like one cohesive font. Legibility is a common issue with traditional Gothic script, so it took a bit of “font surgery” to strike a comfortable balance between “historically accurate” and “easy to read,” but I think the effort paid off in the end!


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