Hello Fang Followers, we have today a very special guest post, Brian Kirk the author of the newly minted We Are Monsters. So check out the book info, read his post and then buy buy buy because it is worth it. Oh did I mention that there is a raffle for some goodies? Oh I didn’t?
The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum.
He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.
Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.
Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.
We Are Monsters, Uncovered
Aside from writing the story itself, the most challenging part of producing my debut novel was deciding on a cover design. I’m fairly particular when it comes to design. Whether it’s a chair, a street sign, or a work of art, I prefer designs that are clean, simple, and smart. And those were the same characteristics I wanted conveyed through my book cover.
I’ll be honest, this took some work. Simplicity often does. Too often, people are inclined to cram as much stuff onto a cover as they can. More is considered more. For me, and my personal tastes, the cover is not meant to work as a movie trailer for the content inside. Instead, it should evoke a feeling or emotion similar to the one the reader can expect to experience while reading the book. It should pique one’s curiosity, not satiate one’s desire to know what the story’s about. That’s what the back cover, or inside flap, is for.
So, for those interested, here’s a look at each component of the cover design.
First, the title. We Are Monsters is meant to be multi-layered. It speaks to the horrific ways we often treat each other, including the monstrous ways we’ve historically treated the mentally ill.
It also refers to the monstrous ways we treat ourselves. Our self-hatred and self-judgment. The ways in which we limit ourselves or sabotage our true potential. The straitjackets we unconsciously wear.
And, lastly, it refers to the monsters that live inside of us. The addictions, the illnesses, the inner demons, whether real or imagined.
These are all themes explored within the novel to varying degrees.
Next comes the main image. For simplicity sake, we wanted to employ a single, iconic image. As you can see, we decided on the Rod of Asclepius from Greek mythology, which is universally recognized as a symbol of medicine and healing.
The staff has a cross-like shape to it. Modern day crosses, when turned upside down, symbolize the Anti-Christ. In much the same way, an inverted Rod of Asclepius could symbolize anti-medicine, or dark medicine, which alludes to the experimental medicine used in the book to treat the mentally ill (with horrific consequences).
Lastly, there’s the color. Yep, it’s yellow. It’s really, really yellow. We chose this color for a few reasons. 1) Yellow can be a color of warning or caution. Venomous snakes often feature the color yellow. As do wasps. 2) It’s got a kind of crazed and manic energy to it. I doubt Charlotte Perkins Gilman randomly chose yellow as the color of the wallpaper in her classic short horror story, The Yellow Wallpaper. 3) The bright yellow is eye-catching. It pops off the bookshelf or screen, especially when placed aside other horror novels, which tend to utilize darker colors.
We explored two other completely different concepts in addition to this one. Both had their merits and limitations. All the while, I kept drifting back to this design. It made me feel uncomfortable for some reason. There’s a tension to it. A subtle sense of unease (or disease).
We Are Monsters is a story about our inner demons. The ones we face and fight every day. And a psychiatrist’s experimental drug that unintentionally casts them out into each character’s world, where they are forced to confront them. Some may call that bad medicine – anti-medicine, as the upside down staff implies. But it just may lead to the asylum we all seek from the monsters within ourselves. You’ll have to read the book to find out.
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