Seven Deadly Shadows
SDS BLOG TOUR GUEST POST– The Journey to the Book’s Map
Hi everyone, Courtney Alameda here, co-author of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS! We were so lucky to get a map in SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS. And not just any map, but a map designed and illustrated by the amazingly talented Feifei Ruan! While the final result is absolutely stunning, our map certainly didn’t start out that way . . .
To begin, our editor asked Valynne and I to create a map of the Fujikawa Family Shrine. Because I have some facility with Photoshop, I dove in and came up with this beauty:
It’s . . . a map, I think? With blob gardens and blob ponds, box buildings and nebulous mountainsides. (I did my best, okay?!) Thank heaven that Feifei translated my blobs and boxes into a spectacular first draft:
It looks like a proper Shinto shrine, doesn’t it?! With a rough draft in hand, Valynne and I had to make some decisions that impacted the text—for example, Feifei asked us if it was proper to have a pond in front of the main hall. We decided that she was right, that feature didn’t make sense, and moved the water feature into the main courtyard.
We also sent Feifei lots of images of shrines from our trips to Japan.
The next draft looked like this:
Beautiful, right? At this point, we fine-tuned the text to match the map. There were lots of references in the novel to the “pond in the courtyard,” which meant we had to painstakingly comb through the text and adjust them all. We also spent time triple-checking fight scenes and making sure everything was copacetic.
And after a few more adjustments, Feifei sent us this:
We were thrilled with this version! So imagine our elation when we saw the final, glorious, full-color version of the Fujikawa Shrine:
Valynne and I are so grateful to Feifei Ruan and the creative team at HarperCollins for this map! As you read SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, I hope it helps you acquaint yourself with one of the most important places in the novel—the Fujikawa Family Shrine.
Thanks for reading! And should you take the time to listen to Kira’s tale, Valynne and I hope you enjoy it! Just remember, don’t fear the shadows . . .
Valynne E. Maetani
Valynne E. Maetani (pronounced Vuh-lin Mah-eh-tah-nee) grew up in Utah and obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In a former life, she was a project manager and developed educational software for children with learning disabilities. Currently, she is a full-time writer. She is a member of the We Need Diverse Books team and is dedicated to promoting diversity in children’s literature because every child should grow up believing his or her story deserves to be told. Her debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the winner of the New Visions Award 2013, a Junior Library Guild 2015 selection, and Best Fiction Book in Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah Arts Award for 2015. She lives in Salt Lake City.
Grand Prize: Win a signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, a signed copy of Courtney Alameda’s SHUTTER, and a signed copy of Valynne Maetani’s INK AND ASHES; anime portraits of Kira and Shiro; a stuffed fox omamori charm from the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Japan; an origami fox hand-folded by Valynne Maetani; a yokai mini sticker sheet; and an assortment of Japanese Kit Kats (not pictured) [INT]
Second Prize: Win (1) of (2) A signed copy of SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS with anime portraits of Kira and Shiro (INT)
Starts: 28th January 2020
Ends: 11th February 2020