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Dark, romantic and unforgettable, this riveting debut for fans of Labyrinth and Naomi Novik tells the fantastical story of a young woman’s journey towards love and acceptance.

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over eighteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother had always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister safe from harm, but she wishes only to indulge in her wild, captivating music, composed and played in secret in the Goblin King’s honor.

When her beautiful sister Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.
Wintersong came from a lot of things: my love of all things gothic, Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête, the underground lake in the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera, and of course, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth with David Bowie.

I have a fascination with underworld stories, with the trope Death and the Maiden, and the image of the earth dying in the winter and coming to life again in the spring. Death and rebirth is a large part of chthonic myths, from Hades and Persephone to Isis and Osiris, and I found echoes of this familiar story in Labyrinth, in which a young girl named Sarah (which is, incidentally, also my first name) journeys to the Underground to rescue her brother from the clutches of the Goblin King.

When it came to design a cover for Wintersong, I admit I had some pretty strong ideas of what I wanted it to look like. I have a background in visual arts, and thought I knew what direction the cover would take. The first few comps I saw were very “wintry” and not what I necessarily expected, full of ice and snow instead of barren earth and dead branches. (I’m goth, what can I say?) But one concept amongst the four I initially saw stood out to me: the image of a snowflake in a globe.

There was something I really liked about the idea of something precious enclosed in glass, even if I thought the snowflake was a little on the nose. I went back to the designer and suggested different image: a flower in the snow. My protagonist, Liesl, is resilient and determined, and the idea of a flower growing in impossible circumstances appealed to me.

The designer more than delivered with this cover. I love its color scheme, the rose in the globe, the subtle texture that gives it all such a beautiful mood. I also love the font, which is the one thing for which I can take a little credit. I am a huge typography nerd and suggested a few that would have been in use in the late 18th century, when Wintersong takes place.

This cover will go live to retailers some time in May, but I wanted my subscribers (should I give y'all a collective name?) to get it first. Plus I was super eager to share it; I've had this final image for a few weeks now, and it's so pretty it's hard not to show it off. :)
What do you think? Do you love it as much as I do? Let me know! You can tweet me, email me, or message me via Tumblr!
My name is S. Jae-Jones, but JJ, if you please. I'm an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the author of Wintersong, forthcoming from Thomas Dunne in Winter 2017.

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Uncreated Conscience
c/o Jill Grinberg Literary Management
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