The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
by Julia Ember
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.
Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.
When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.
Link to Goodreads:
Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.
Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.
Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will be released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.
In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.
Cover Love — Why You Love the Cover
Most authors don’t get to choose their covers, and with some of my other books, I haven’t had a lot of input. However, with the cover of The Tiger’s Watch, I had the rather unusual privilege of choosing both my artist and providing the prompt.
With this book, even more than any of my others, I was adamant that I wanted an illustrated cover rather than photographic. Tashi, the protagonist of the book, is non-binary. I did not want to use a cisgender cover model because I thought it would lead to readers misgendering Tashi. A lot of covers come from stock images. If the cover model had appeared on other fantasy novels, with cisgender protagonists, I again feared that this would contribute towards misgendering of Tashi, as people would consciously or subconsciously link them to other characters. Unfortunately, a lot of readers still aren’t accustomed to seeing non-binary characters in books.
I had worked with Meghan Moss before, on the cover of my first novella, Unicorn Tracks, which was published in 2016. I already knew that I loved her unique watercolor style and that I wanted to use her again for this book. It did take a little bit of convincing to get my publisher on board – while stunning, Meghan’s work isn’t cheap. All of her paintings are done by hand, on canvas, rather than digitally. However, I believed that the cover for Unicorn Tracks was one of its selling points. More importantly, to me, I knew that Meghan would listen to my suggestions and read carefully, in order to create true-to-text representations of the characters. She showed me the drafts of the cover as she completed them, to make sure that everything was perfect.
Here are a few of her early sketches:
The artwork she created blew away my expectations! I think as an artist, Meghan just keeps getting better. She perfectly captured both Tashi and Katala, their bonded golden tiger. I adore the colour scheme and the visible brush strokes.
A few months after the cover reveal for the book took place, Meghan sent the original to my house. I have it framed and hung up in my kitchen!
- Two (2) winners will receive a signed paperback of The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Embers (INT)