Greetings, Voyagers! We’re so excited to share the gorgeous cover of Claire O’Dell’s debut novel, A STUDY IN HONOR, which goes on sale on July 31, 2018.
Set in a near future Washington, D.C., A STUDY IN HONOR is a clever, incisive, and fresh feminist twist on a classic literary icon—Sherlock Holmes—in which Dr. Janet Watson and covert agent Sara Holmes will use espionage, advanced technology, and the power of deduction to unmask a murderer targeting Civil War veterans.
Scroll down to read Claire’s thoughts on this awesome cover, and learn more about this book!
Books start off as such ephemeral creatures—an image, a character in motion, a scrap of dialogue that drops into your brain, the tantalizing phrase: What if? What if Watson and Holmes were two women? What if Watson came home from a war where she lost everything? And what if that war took place inside the US?
By the end of the third chapter, I knew exactly what Janet Watson and Sara Holmes looked like. I could see the shadows they cast in their world. But there’s a very long leap from the writer’s imagination to the words on the page, and an even longer leap from the page into the reader’s mind.
Which brings us to cover art.
Covers are first contact for the book. Covers make a promise to the reader. The wrong cover might mean a reader never picks up the book at all. Which is just one reason writers obsess over their covers. I’m a writer, so I was obsessing daily.
Then last October, my editor sent me an email with a large attachment and the question, What do you think?
I scrolled down to the image preview. My mouth dropped open. I was so excited, I couldn’t breathe.
Once I could breathe again, I sent back an all caps reply to my editor: OMG, I LOVE THIS COVER TO PIECES!!!!
Five minutes later, I sent a second email to apologize for not using my indoor voice.
To unpack that first incoherent response: There are so many reasons I’m excited about this cover. It’s not just because the artist showed Janet and Sara exactly as I had imagined them. It’s because he captured Sara’s grace, strength, and ferocity. He captured that mixture of stubbornness and vulnerability that belongs to Janet Watson. And most important, he captured their relationship—the two of them as partners in the midst of a dark and dangerous mystery.
My thanks—and squeaks of delight—to the team at Harper Voyager and to Chris McGrath for creating the perfect cover.
ABOUT A STUDY IN HONOR:
Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in the throes of a fraught presidential election. Homeless and jobless, Watson is uncertain of the future when she meets another black LGBTQA woman, Sara Holmes, a mysterious yet playfully challenging covert agent who offers the doctor a place to stay.
Watson’s readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate. But the tensions between them dissolve when Watson discovers that soldiers from the New Civil War have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous, involving the pharmaceutical industry and even the looming election. Joining forces, Watson and Holmes embark on a thrilling investigation to solve the mystery—and secure justice for these fallen soldiers.
A STUDY IN HONOR goes on-sale 7/31/18. You can pre-order and read about the book here. And be sure to let us know what you think of the cover in the comments!