I’ve discovered that the image of the striking woman pictured on the front cover of my book was created by fine-art photographer Dmytro Baev from Odesa, Ukraine. The woman is a real person, not an AI creation.
Like Dmytro Baev, I am strongly inspired by art and painting in my creative process.
Baev says that “his passion for Dutch painting and Impressionism always pushes [him] to use the principles of achieving chiaroscuro lighting that the artists used.”
Creating a novel is comparable to the chiaroscuro used by artists and photographers. The dramatic use of light and shade helps to achieve mystery, surprise and tension.
My book is formed of multiple layers of the characters’ experiences, relationships and emotions. Spotlights are shone on certain aspects of their lives, while other elements are only partially revealed or remain shrouded in darkness.
“They may look like just photos,” says Baev, “but there is a story behind each one of them.”
Baev’s interpretation behind the image will be different to mine, just as it will be unique to each person who views his image or reads my book.
For me, this woman is Antonia from seventeenth-century Antwerp. Drawn into the lively household of the artist Peter Paul Rubens, whose work her father engraves for a living, Antonia begins to see a life of possibility for herself, until her father entrusts her with a terrible secret that will alter the course of her future.
The Engraver’s Secret – out 3 April 2024 – HarperCollins Australia
Cover design: HarperCollins Design Studio
Cover image: Dmytro Baev / Trevillion Images