The Prodigy Chronicles: Gambit Cover

April 12, 2016

Know what’s cool about working with the team at REUTS?


You get to be deeply involved in the publication process. From edits and tag lines to trailers and cover design, an author’s opinions and feedback are taken into consideration. REUTS is just awesome that way. So when it came time to design Gambit’s cover, the first thing Ashley Ruggirello (owner and creative director) did was to ask me what I had in mind.


It was an intimidating question, because I hadn’t really thought much about what I wanted on the cover. A few of the book’s primary elements stood out—dagger, butterfly, tiger—but I couldn’t envision how those might come together.


In the end, I talked with Ashley about those elements and gave her a list of things that I’m drawn to whenever I’m shopping for that next great read. Things like:


  • grit, depth, and texture
  • dark colors
  • contrast
  • simplistic design

I also gave her a few things I didn’t want to see:


  • people
  • too much detail
  • anything pink

Ashley quickly came up with the idea of a jeweled dagger and butterfly wings. Setting those against a textured background, she added depth by darkening the corners, drawing focus to the light center. She also played around with fonts and ended up designing a rough, gritty-looking title that contrasts nicely with the smoother fonts in the tagline and my name. The last thing we did was add the drop of blood.



Was I happy with the cover? Absolutely. Thrilled, even. Every element is symbolic of the story. The butterfly stands for Willow’s innocence, which takes a beating after Reece arrives and turns her life upside down (this is why the wings are deteriorating into the background). The tiger stripes on the wings represent her passion and skills, and the blade symbolizes her destiny. Her genetic code is hidden in that drop of blood. The gritty title hints at where she comes from, while the smoother fonts foreshadow the high-tech world she’s about to face.


I love it and wouldn’t change a thing. :)


Ashley did a brilliant job of bringing Gambit to life visually. Below are my top three all-time favorite covers she’s created (besides mine, lol). And if you want to see more of her work, check out her REUTS designs here and her cool freelance stuff at Cardboard Monet.






Back to blog

The Last Starling

Horror and deep magick lurk in this YA gothic fantasy about a teenage werewolf who must decide how far he'll go to save his mortal enemy.


Stay in the Loop

Get the latest blog updates, and find out when the next book in the series comes out -- sign up here: