Why I Love a Little Hand-drawn Tree

Now that The Blood-Tainted Winter is out there (I mean, really, people are reading it.  Maybe at this very moment.) I wanted to share the map created by Swedish illustrator/cartographer Gillis Björk.  I’ve mentioned Gillis before and I still feel very lucky to have found him and to have his artwork gracing the pages of my book.

It’s an incredible feeling to crack open the spine and see it.  It seems to serve as a reminder every time I see it that this actually happened.  This being the fact that I wrote a book and it’s published for the whole world to read.  Something about the map makes all of this very real.

No more little screen shots, no more sneak peeks.

Here’s Midgard, in full.  (Click on it to see it larger!)


Want to know my favorite part?  That’s a tough choice.  I just love the shading on the mountains, the serpent (Hey, Jörmungand, how’s it hanging?), and the valiant little longship.  But most of all, I adore my compass rose.  After we decided that my map shouldn’t have a modern compass rose (Duh.), Gillis played around with a couple ideas that I nixed.  Then, without any specific prompt from me, he drew that tree and it was like the oracle at Delphi spoke to me while Thor lit the way with lightning bolts to make sure I wasn’t too daft to see how perfect it was.  Get this, at the time Gillis drew the tree, I hadn’t even mentioned the series title to him, only the individual book title.  But there it was, a little Yggdrasil to point the way on a map for a series of books called The Song of the Ash Tree.

So.  Yes.  I adore that little tree.

And I pretty much adore Gillis, too, for knowing what I needed before I knew what I needed.

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