Gabriel and the Devil by Robert P. Rowe
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Robert P. Rowe here today talking about his new story Gabriel and the Devil and how it’s cover developed. Welcome, Robert!
How do you choose your cover?
Dreamspinner Press has a whole art department dedicated to cover design and interior layout. When I first started with DSP they solicited a lot of feedback from writers about their books. In my case that was easy. I’m an art director. I knew exactly what my covers needed to look like. But most writers aren’t art directors too. Most don’t have a great idea of what they want their cover to look like.
Recently, DSP has changed their cover design process. They say, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” But everyone does. So the DSP marketing department has stepped in to play a stronger role in cover design. At the 2018 DSP Writer’s Workshop the new process was introduced along with a large sampling of covers.
The audience was thrilled. They saw covers so inspiring that they wanted to write books to go along with the covers.
In the case of Gabriel and the Devil I had a very clear picture of what my main characters should look like. But the art and marketing department had different ideas—two to be exact. I was shown two covers created by Anna Sikorska. The cover that DSP marketing liked the best was bright and colorful, but the cover model looked sad. In fact the whole cover seemed a bit of a downer to me.
The alternative cover was very close to the cover that I chose. This cover tells so many stories. Main character, Gabriel, is very uncertain about his life and ultimately about his beliefs. The cover model wears and expression that perfectly fits this character. But the first version of the devil, Marcello, looked sad too. When I pointed out that this character is fun loving and should be smiling he came back with an evil looking grin. But finally we were able to get just the right look. There needed to be a wink to the readers letting them know that this story is fun. Perhaps it’s a bit of devilish fun, but it’s fun.
Best of all the cover is bold and striking. The devil is contrasted on a white background while the angel is on a black background. The image not only contrasts good and evil, it also is very reminiscent of the yin and yang symbol. In fact that is an underlying message in the story: “Evil brings out the best in people.”
Gabriel and the Devil blurb:
Flirting with the devil can lead to a helluva good time.
Gabriel is a regular angel. The former altar boy plans to graduate from college, become an accountant, get a good job, find a wife, and live a faithful Catholic life.
But one Halloween night, the devil pops in out of nowhere, challenges everything he believes, and heats up Gabriel’s lonely life.
Marcello is full of the devil. He’s lusted after Gabriel forever, but what he really wants is Gabriel’s eternal soul. Still, his mischievous sense of humor, along with his tricks and jokes, leads to a misunderstanding that could condemn him to hell on Earth. Only the truth will let these souls find true love and happiness.
A Very Short Except:
“You don’t know God at all, Gabriel.”
“Really. God is love—eternal, unconditional love. There are no exceptions, and that includes his love for Satan.”
“God hates sin.”
“Your God. Let me tell you a little story about the real God. This is a story that they won’t teach you in catechism. I can’t say it happened a long time ago because there was no such thing as time when it happened. There was only God and his angels. And all eternity was light and good.
“God knew everything there was to know. And he was bored. He wanted to learn more. So he went to his angels, whom he loved unconditionally, with a proposal. He needed one of his angels to rule over darkness. Now his angels all loved him so much that they would have done anything he asked. Of course, his angels had no idea what darkness was, but if God needed an angel to take charge over it, he wasn’t exactly short on volunteers.
“But before Lucifer got the job, God explained what the position entailed. You see, Gabriel, all light and goodness isn’t enough. There has to be contrast or you have nothing. You, my dear soul, can’t only be good because you’ll never get a chance to learn. God needed the darkness so he could learn more. And trust me, darkness, evil, and bad things only bring out the best in people.”
Robert P. Rowe has spent his entire career as a storyteller making an incredible leap from Disneyland ride operator to show-designer and art director at Walt Disney Imagineering. Immersive storytelling presents a distinctive challenge unlike that of live theater, film, radio, or print media. He is currently on staff as an art director for Universal Orlando. His many other works can be found around the world, primarily in Disney and Universal Studios parks.
His “real” job takes up much of his time, but his active imagination can’t stop dreaming up new stories. Whenever time permits, he’s writing about new characters off on their own incredible journeys.
Additionally, his outside interests include all aspects of architecture, with a specific fascination for the theatrical design of homes from midcentury movies and television. He has a keen enthusiasm for midcentury science fiction.