Unbelievably Cool – The Girl Who Would Be King

Some of you may know that I have this book called THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING that I almost sold to a major publishing house in the summer of 2010.

Since then it has gone on a shelf while I wrote another book, hoping the new book would be “less violent” and “more YA” (which were the ultimate reasons given that THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING didn’t sell). I hoped to sell it later…perhaps.

However after seeing Hunger Games in theaters this spring, I realized that THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING, awesome as it was, was maybe never going to be “YA enough” or “Un-violent enough” (not a word!) to suit the larger publishing market. So I decided to do a Kickstarter for it and self publish. That got put on hold as well (for a reason I hope to share with you all soon) but in the meantime I had already commissioned the absolutely fantastic Stephanie Hans to do my cover illustration for the book.

If all goes well, you all will be seeing the final cover illustration (and hearing more about the Kickstarter) sometime in June.

Stephanie, in addition to being a brilliant illustrator, actually read the entire book (it’s big) in order to do the cover work, which is above and beyond everything I could have hoped for. Perhaps even more amazing, she loved the book, and I think you can see how much in the quality of her illustrations. Below is a sketch that (though it’s perhaps my favorite of all the sketches she did) was more appropriate for a comic book than a novel and so we didn’t move forward with it. But Stephanie liked it so much that she kept on going…and the results are unbelievably cool.

So world…please welcome Bonnie and Lola into the world…two wonderful badasses that I love – and hope you’ll all get to read more about soon!

This is Stephanie’s first sketch – which blew my mind – from a scene mid-way through the book:

Bonnie & Lola Sketch (Bonnie in the water, Lola above)

This is the work in progress sketch:

Bonnie and Lola, wip

And the final version, which makes me want to do an illustrated edition, or a graphic novel adaptation SO MUCH:

Bonnie & Lola, final

A huge thanks to Stephanie, who went above and beyond, and is generally the best person ever. Buy her work here!

And you can of course see Stephanie and I collaborating on a comic together for Womanthology with “SuperLess Hero”

Follow me on twitter here: @79SemiFinalist

& Stephanie on twitter here: @HansStephanie

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  1. Story Addict’s avatar

    Love it, gorgeous work! Best of luck on the book :)

  2. Hevel Löwen’s avatar

    Reblogged this on The Realm of Wonder and commented:
    I need to read it!… ;O

  3. Nik Furious’s avatar

    Gorgeous cover!!! I love it. Can’t wait to read the book.

  4. Adam’s avatar

    Great post. I love seeing the progress like this. She is such a badass and so are you.

  5. dandeeXD’s avatar

    I’m so excited!!!! GO KELLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  6. mooncalfe’s avatar


  7. karen’s avatar

    So cool! Can’t wait to kickstart it! And hold a copy in my hands!

  8. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Thanks everyone. Sitting on this amazing art has been really hard. I honestly can’t wait to get this kickstarter started…hope I get to!

  9. Maverickman874’s avatar

    Congrats on the book news. Here’s hoping your Kickstarter is successful. You might have already tries this but what about ebooks ? There seem to be some success stories on that front which later get published in print.

  10. Nataniel Costard’s avatar

    Great job, and great idea! I have around 70 illustrated books published in Argentina, Mexico and Spain, and ONE YA novel that, despite my “curriculum”, can’t find a house to stay. Kickstarter is not that well-known around this places, but I think in the end I’ll have to do something like that if I want people to read my story. (I think the future is hidden somwhere in stuff like that). Anyway, well done!

  11. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    @Maverickman874: If I do end up self-publishing there will definitely be an ebook available both through the kickstarter and afterwards on amazon, etc.

    @Nataniel Costard: Wow – 70 illustrated books – that’s incredible – congrats! I think some form of crowdsurfing is definitely in the future for publishing. Good luck with your YA novel!

  12. Strannik’s avatar

    after seeing Hunger Games in theaters this spring, I realized that THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING, awesome as it was, was maybe never going to be “YA enough” or “Un-violent enough” (not a word!) to suit the larger publishing market.

    So, wait… Were you being sarcastic? Or is that another way of saying that you wouldn’t want your book to be written off as a Hunger Games cash-in?

    (The cover is awesome, of course)

  13. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    @Strannik: Ha. No, I wasn’t being sarcastic. While I think the HG “concept” (kids killing kids to put not to fine a point on it) is more violent than mine, I think my execution of violence is more…I don’t know…visceral and graphic. Certainly something that happens at the end is more violent than anything in all of HG (at least the film…probably the first book as well)…Seeing the film with an audience and seeing what they reacted to (and seeing what HG had to soften for their PG-13 rating) really opened my eyes about how “R” THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING really is/was.

    Does that make more sense?

  14. Strannik’s avatar

    @1979Semifinalist: Sure. And now I’m very interested in seeing just how R-rated your novel really is :)

  15. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    @Strannik: I hope you’ll get the chance! I would say sex and language is around a pg-13-ish rating, and violence is a hard R. 😉

  16. The Iron Smith’s avatar

    I was wondering when your story was going to be published? (It looks awesome by the way).

  17. deathcurse’s avatar

    The fight image is just gorgeous. I thought the final cover picture was amazing and made me immediately think about the symbolic meaning behind the two girls, and cracks, the arm placements, etc, but it really was that fight image that got me truly excited for what this novel would be about. Is there any way for the image to be included in the novel somewhere? Back page, internal cover page, anything?

  18. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    @The Iron Smith: Hi – you can go to the Kickstarter anytime and contribute. Epubs for those that contribute will go out probably by the end of August, print copies in hopefully September and then it should be available on Amazon after that.


    In the meantime you can read excerpts (first 8 chapters are up) here:


    @deathcurse: If the Kickstarter raises significantly more money, I am trying to have a section of color illustrations (including that fight scene) in the hardback version – but we need to get up in the 20k range of the Kickstarter in order for that to happen – so make this go viral! :)

    Did you check out Stephanie’s and my discussion of the cover process here: http://1979semifinalist.com/The_Girl_Who_Would_Be_King/Process_Page_1.html

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