Symbols on the Heirs of Tenebris Covers

One of the first things I did when I decided to publish my young adult fantasy trilogy, the Heirs of Tenebris, was seek out a cover designer. I didn’t even have a concept in mind for the cover art, but as I am not an artist myself, finding a cover designer was the most daunting thing on my publishing to-do list.

Luckily, a friend put me in touch with Marcella Thaler and so my search for a cover designer didn’t last too long!

After working with each other for a few months, swapping ideas, notes, and tweaking initial design concepts, Marcella and I landed on concept that was perfect for my Heirs of Tenebris trilogy????

In the opening scene of Fire & Flight, one of my characters is observing something (okay, someone) in a crystal ball, so naturally the idea of having a crystal ball on the cover came to mind. And with lilacs being such a central symbol and color of the trilogy, I knew I somehow wanted to incorporate that too. It was with these initial thoughts and ideas that Marcella created some concept art that I fell in love with and that we would spend a few months finalizing the details of.

Even though I’d been a part of the process the whole way, I was stunned when I saw the completed covers! Not only were the covers absolutely gorgeous, but it was at this point that the fact that I was actually publishing my young adult fantasy trilogy really sunk in.

It was real.

Yes, I had Fire & Flight completed and was actively seeking my path to publication, but seeing these beautiful covers is what really made it feel real to me.

Ever since I saw the final designs, I’ve been bursting to explain their symbolism and barely able to wait patiently for all three covers to be revealed before finally sharing the story behind the covers.

The Heirs of Tenebris covers not only represent the overall progression of the trilogy, but more specifically, Nyla’s character arc.

Fire & Flight’s cover features a limited amount of magic sparks (or magic sparkies as I call them) and a withered lilac trapped inside the crystal ball. Embers of Eternity’s cover features the same elements, but this time the crystal ball is cracking and the lilac is beginning to bloom anew. And finally, Winds of War’s cover shows a fully bloomed lilac rising from the shattered crystal ball.

It’s a beautiful progression visually, but when I apply it to how it symbolizes Nyla’s character arc throughout the series, and even in each book, I get chills. Nyla is terrified and anxious in Fire & Flight. She’s been through quite a bit and totally isolated from anyone. But through the course of the plot, Nyla slowly opens up, discovering more about herself, her magic, and the history of Tenebris, which brings us to book 2: Embers of Eternity.

One of my favorite quotes from the trilogy is from one of Fire & Flight’s last chapters:

“Magic sparked from Nyla’s fingertips. She refused to be afraid again.”

Fire & Flight, 28: The Woman with the Lilac-Colored Magic, page 394

This is really the beginning of the transition into who Nyla is in Embers of Eternity. This is Nyla truly embracing her magic for the first time and trusting her own strength, and actually believing in her abilities. And that’s when the evil sorceress’s plans begin to crack—I mean the crystal ball begins to crack????

Winds of War is the peak of Nyla’s character arc, and the most intense book in the trilogy too. Here you have Nyla at her strongest, the plot at its tensest point, and the conclusion to my young adult fantasy trilogy, all shown by the bloomed lilac and shattered crystal ball.

I’ve always loved that moment, as both a reader and an author, when I can sit back and how admire  all those pieces of the puzzle and foreshadowing and symbolism come together. That moment when it all clicks together never ceases to amaze me, and getting to have that experience that with my own novels was super surreal but amazing all the same.

Discover Nyla’s journey as she unravels her connection to Tenebris’s past and the secrets hidden by the legend of the Shadow Forest alongside her friends Xander and Shamira in my Heirs of Tenebris trilogy: