Rowan McAllister Talks Covers, Victorian Gothic Romance and her latest novel ‘We Met in Dreams’ (guest post)



We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover artist: Anna Sikorska

Release Date: February 27, 2017

Available for purchase at



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Rowan McAllister today talking about her cover for We met in Dreams.  

Welcome, Rowan.


Covers, Victorian Gothic Romance and We Met In Dreams by Rowan McAllister

Candlelight flickering off a darkened staircase. Skeletal branches clawing at a blue-black sky. A crumbling castle with one lit window.

Anyone with a love for romance has to have seen at least one cover featuring some or all of these themes. When I made the decision to dive headlong into delightfully spooky and melodramatic genre of the Victorian Gothic Romance, I had dozens of inspiration pics and ideas for my cover. I’d share some of the pics with you here, but unfortunately I don’t own them. Instead, I’ll urge you to Google image search “Victorian Gothic Romance” and “women running from houses.” It’ll be worth the keystrokes. You’ll have an entire screen filled with smudged pencil, pastel, and charcoal drawings of women in flowing white gowns, in varying states of undress, fleeing darkened hulks of stone or racing down stairs clutching candelabras, as dark shadows loom menacingly behind them.  It’s wonderfully moody art.

Now obviously I couldn’t have my hero in a flowing white gown— or I suppose I could have, except that would’ve been an entirely different story— but I wanted the same feel. I wanted that delicious urgency of the fleeing hero and the towering bulk of a darkened and forbidding house. I wanted the decay of winter and the air of neglect, even in a prosperous family’s stately London house. I wanted swooping bats and glowing white apparitions with skeletal hands pressed to window panes… okay I’m going a little over the top here, but you get the gist.

Poor Anna Sikorska, she had to deal with a LOT of “I wants” from me on this one. It’s only once in a blue moon that I have a clear idea of what I want for my cover, and lucky her, she got this one. But she was a trooper and kept at it until this fresh take on the classic theme became reality. I just hope she wasn’t cursing my name by the end of it. And poor Paul Richmond at Dreamspinner Press had to explain to me that there was such a thing as TOO dark a cover. Apparently there’s a little more leeway for ebook covers than ones that will also be sold in print, so I couldn’t go as dark as my soul. I learned something new there— darned reality imposing its rules on my gothic vision. But in the end, I suppose it’s better that you can actually see the cover. That’s kind of important, or so I’ve heard.

A big thanks to Anna for putting up with me and making my beautiful cover, and I hope you all enjoy reading what’s inside We Met In Dreams as much as I enjoyed writing it.



In Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.

Genre: Victorian Gothic/Historical European

Page Count/Word Count: 268/98,457

About the Author


Rowan McAllister is a woman who doesn’t so much create as recreate, taking things ignored and overlooked and hopefully making them into something magical and mortal. She believes it’s all in how you look at it. In addition to a continuing love affair with words, she creates art out of fabric, metal, wood, stone, and any other interesting scraps of life she can get her hands on. Everything is simply one perspective change and a little bit of effort away from becoming a work of art that is both beautiful and functional. She lives in the woods, on the very edge of suburbia—where civilization drops off and nature takes over—sharing her home with her patient, loving, and grounded husband, her super sweet hairball of a cat, and a mythological beast masquerading as a dog. Her chosen family is made up of a madcap collection of people from many different walks of life, all of whom act as her muses in so many ways, and she would be lost without them.



Twitter: @RowanMcallister