Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Here's another strong, independent woman to add to my growing collection of heroic women. It's a recent cover for a book by new author, Christine Blevins, soon to be published by Berkley Books and titled, Midwife Of The Blue Ridge. The book is set in 1763 and has a very original story .
......."In the highlands of Scotland, Maggie Duncan is desperate to alter the course of her lonely, hardscrabble life. In search of a new beginning, the young midwife puts her mark to terms of indenture, turns her back on her homeland, and embarks on an adventure into the great unknown.
Maggie survives the perilous journey across treacherous seas and makes landfall in Virginia Colony. Her indenture is sold at auction and she is bound to provide four years of service to a farming family living on the remote frontier in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
No longer under threat of war, the Virginian uplands are being claimed and settled by bold men seeking their fortunes. Frontier folk face adversity daily as they carve out an existence in this wild, beautiful place. Rugged backwoodsmen vie with determined homesteaders and brutal land speculators for ground, game, and the favors of a handful
of women.
More than one of these daring men are drawn to the pretty midwife, and more than ever Maggie must rely on her wits, her healing skills and her strength of heart to survive in a savage land where the whisper of Indian uprising lies just over the horizon."
I was given this assignment as a rush job. The author had actually provided a great sketch, so I was able to "see" Maggie in my mind, given very little information beyond a brief description. This is either intuition, experience of just luck. Maybe all three rolled together! The cover crops in on my image just below the woman's nose, so Christine had never seen her face. When I sent her a jpeg of the full image this was her reply: ....."it is a bit eerie to see the full image. Your version of Maggie is exactly ? I mean EXACTLY how I pictured Maggie Duncan in my head. It is actually amazing to me that you caught her with such minimal information."
Well I'm pleased that she's pleased and the publisher is happy, too.
I don't know why, but I really like portrying heroic women. Maybe it's the contrast between their beauty and their determination, but actually, their beauty is partly a result of their determination! Whatever the fascination is, give me more stories like this to illustrate!
Model: Cole, from Click agency. Photography, Shirley Green. Costume, Sharon Spiak.Thanks all!

Please leave your comments!


Anne Whitfield - author said...

This is a beautiful cover.
I would buy this book on the cover alone.
Well done!

James Griffin said...

Wow! That's a strong endorsement of the power of a cover illustration! And a really nice comment to read.
Thank you for that lovely feedback from an accomplished author!

Friederike said...

Congratulations on your image. I peeled several times this blog finding always beautiful image. Sorry for my English but I'm using the translator.
good day

James Griffin said...

Friederike, Thanks for your compliment! You inspire me to post more images. Come back again!

Blog Stop Book Tours said...

I read this book a month or so ago, and I was wondering what Maggie's face looked like. Now I know. :)

I showed the painting to my husband and one of our best friends. Both of them said "That's you!" I'm going to have to dress up like Maggie and take a photo. And if it's true, I am honored to have such a beautiful likeness out there in the world. It truly is a gorgeous painting!

Christine Blevins is touring Midwife of the Blue Ridge with Blog Stop Book Tours this month. Stop by if you're interested.

Princeton McKinney said...

Your original artwork is the most beautiful cover art I've seen in years, if not ever. It is gorgeous. Too bad the publisher beheaded her for the actual book cover...I'm finding it hard to get past that.

James Griffin said...

Thanks to both blogstop book tours and Princeton MCkinney! I would love to see a photo of you to compare! It was part of the original concept to crop the poor girl's head on the cover. seemed like a waste, really, but it's to allow the reader to imagine what she would look like. maybe in a future edition they will include the rest of her! Another little thing: I was asked to raise her neckline on the final cover, because someone in a bookstore somewhere was threatened by her cleavage! This culture is comfortable with all kinds of violence, but the gentle swell of a woman's breast is too much to take for some.

Blog Stop Book Tours said...

I uploaded a photo of me to Photobucket. Now granted, I am about 18 years older than the character of Maggie, but I think you'll see the resemblance. LOL

blog stop book tours said...

For some reason the link cut off. Here's the link that works.

Anonymous said...

add .jpg to the end of the link.

James Griffin said...

Thanks for the picture link, Mary. Good luck with the Christine Blevins tour. J