We have the pleasure of showcasing the beautiful visual imagery from J.M. Hackman’s debut novel, Spark, today on Quills & Inkblotts. There’s so much to look at, so much to savor, we hardly know where to begin.
First of all, check out this cover! Is it gorgeous or what?
We got the insider scoop on the other visuals from Spark, straight from the author herself!
Quills & Inkblotts: Where did you get your ideas? Do tell!
J.M. Hackman: Social media sites like Pinterest and YouTube are Nirvana, providing loads of inspiration while my work in progress comes to life. Despite my lack of drawing ability (stick figures are my forte), I sketched several of Spark’s iconic items.
Q & I: Tell us about the map. Its details are stunning!
JMH: The map of Linneah and the surrounding Jasper Territory went through at least three different renditions. I sketched it twice on lined notebook paper, then again on graph paper which was scanned into paint.net. Unhappy with the simplistic look of it, I attempted to draw it free hand. I spent waaaaay too much time on YouTube, watching how to draw fantasy maps (Part 1 is here) From my local library, I requested the book How to Draw Fantasy Art and PRG Maps by Jared Blando. My husband bought me my own copy this Christmas (which garnered him Major Spouse Points!) Because I was so pleased with how the map turned out, I included it in the book.
Q & I: Well, Linneah certainly looks like a place we’d like to visit! And the Fly True feather…what’s the story behind it?
JMH: The Fly True coloring sheet came about when I had too much time on my hands (obviously!) In high school, I constantly doodled the names of popular bands on my book covers. I’ve adopted the new adult coloring book trend whole-heartedly. The phrase “Fly True” is a blessing griffins use, a way of encouraging others to live life with integrity.
Q & I: Love, love, love the feather and the idea of integrity behind it. Talk about something that would make an awesome tattoo! Speaking of tattoos…share about the Firebrand image.
JMH: The Firebrand image was late to the creation of Spark but has since become an important part of book 2, titled Flare. I love the tribal tattoo designs (like the ones seen most recently in Moana) and the delicate filigree designs found on almost everything from business cards to home décor. After gathering inspiration from the internet, I began to sketch. The Firebrand image was the result.
Q & I: It’s certainly eye-catching. And the compass roses! Oooh…we love how you designed both of them.
JMH: The last thing to go on the Linnean map was a compass rose. I played with a few designs, finding two favorites. I added one to the map and used the other for my website. My tagline is “True North fiction.” True North is not only about finding the right journey for oneself, but also about finding the one person who can go on the journey with you. Spark is truly a “True North fiction” tale.
When I began having trouble imagining the seal on the box holding Brenna’s jasper, I stumbled across a picture of a necklace pendant displaying an eight-pointed star. That was it—a symbol like a compass. Personal direction is a motif in Spark, due to the age of the characters and the choices laid out for them. Ivy means fidelity (one of the reasons it’s used in weddings), so I added it as a border.
Q & I: Glad you didn’t pick one or the other because they’re both gorgeous! Thanks for sharing with us today.
JMH: Thanks for joining me! I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the inspiration behind the images of Spark.
Q & I: We sure did. And congratulations from all of us at Quills & Inkblotts on your new book baby. We love your designs, love your book, and can’t wait to read the next one!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour to celebrate the release of this amazing story!
5/15: Amy Brock McNew – Spark! Into the World of J.M. Hackman
5/16: J M Hackman – What I Learned While Writing Spark (And Spark Teaser!)
5/17: Emilie Hendryx – Author Chat with J.M. Hackman and The Story Sanctuary – Review
5/18: Michael Israel Harper – Five Reasons Why I Love Linneah
5/19: Kat Heckenbach – Behind-the-Scenes Feature “A Different Kind of Magic”
5/20: Writing Prompts, Thoughts, Ideas – Interview
5/21: Quills and Inkblotts – Visual Post: The Visual Feast of Spark (right here!)
5/22: Laura Zimmerman – Review
5/23: Lands Uncharted – Behind-the-Scenes Feature
5/24: Pam Halter – Guest Post and Ralene Burke – Guest Post
5/25: Pages and Hope – Interview
5/26: Jebraun Clifford – 8 More Fascinating Behind-the-scenes Facts about Spark
Praise for Spark:
“J.M. Hackman skillfully interweaves humor, heart, action, and a bit of romance into this tale of a seemingly ordinary teenager coming to terms with her extraordinary destiny. Her vivid descriptions, imaginative world-building, and authentic voice will entertain and captivate any reader who enjoys being swept away into a fantasy adventure with a lovable cast of characters. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!” —Laurie Lucking, author of Common
“J.M. Hackman’s Spark is a grand romp through a portal to a land of unexpected creatures and adventures, kind of like a blend of Narnia and Middle Earth. And there are griffins! I totally want to bond with a griffin. Just sayin’.” —Pam Halter, award-winning author of “Tick Tock” in Realmscapes
“J.M. Hackman’s Spark is a fun ride for your imagination. She weaves a sweet tale of action, adventure, and romance, sprinkled with humor that any lover of fantasy should be excited to read. Hackman crafted such a beautifully creative world that by the end of the book, you’ll want to visit the kingdom of Linneah for yourself and share in Brenna’s adventures. Great start to a wonderful new series.” —Julie Hall, award-winning author of the Life After series
About J.M. Hackman
J.M. Hackman has held many positions: assistant librarian, office assistant, office manager, substitute teacher, writer, wife, and mother. She still holds the last three. And loves it. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University and now spends her days writing stories, consuming massive quantities of chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds. You can find her at:
You can purchase Spark from L2L2 Publishing and it’s also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBook, Kobo, and any other online retailer.
Do you have any other questions for J.M. Hackman? Tell us below in the comments!