Cartographer King

A writer’s life is not all words on a page.  A working writer finds herself doing an extraordinary number of odd jobs, such as the day I spent tracking down the identity of an insect the publisher intended to use as the illustration for a new edition of Beekeeper’s Apprentice: No, I said firmly, that is not a honeybee.  Yes, Art protested, it is so a honeybee.  Those being pre-Internet / Googly days, I drove around to bookstores and printshops so I could overnight them a color reproduction of a bee, with numbers  written on the page to point out where it was at variance with the physical characteristics of apis mellifera (wing shape; thorax divisions; lack of leg sacs, etc).  It took a trip to the library to identify what they the photo they were working with: a hover fly.

Like I said: odd jobs.

Then recently, I became a cartographer.  I really wanted a map for Garment of Shadows, because it is set in Morocco, a place not everyone can call immediately to mind.  The problem came when I urged them to do an illustrated map, like the gorgeous one they put in The Game.  But when I was told 1) that maps were now the responsibility of the author and 2) the cost, I thought, hey, I can do one.

So I asked my artist friend Jean Lukens (she did #1 on the Russellscape) to do me some pen and ink drawings:






(Yes, those are Russell’s boots.  And ring.)

Then I sketched out a map inside Jean’s frame, and finally asked my superstar Photoshopper brother-in-law to put all the elements together.  And here it is:

What do you think?


  1. Tammy Albee on February 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

    What do I think? I think that once more I know why I am still impatiently awaiting every book you write… because you haven’t let anyone change how you do things. If you want it right, it is right.

    And THANKS for the map – they are always a plus for me when I’m reading a book where the landscape (or cityscape) factors in. The maps in O Jerusalem were invaluable to me….


  2. Laura K on February 21, 2012 at 8:39 am

    GORGEOUS! Exactly the right style for a novel involving Russell, Holmes, and Morocco.

  3. GraceAnne_LadyHawk on February 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I am hopeless and clueless with maps. I really cannot resolve them. But the sketch of Russell’s boots, glasses and ring (have we had her wedding ring described before?) made me swoon.

  4. M. Louisa Locke on February 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Beautiful, I so love maps in books. Takes me back to being 10 and looking at a buried treasure book in a book.

    Probably turned out better than if you had left it up to the publisher.

    Can’t wait for the book to come out.

    M. Louisa.
    author of the Victorian San Francisco Mysteries

  5. Strawberry Curls on February 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Gorgeous was the first word that first came to mind, but that has already been used to describe your creation. It is a work of art, and your ability to pull such a creation together by tapping the talents of others is sheer genius. Your list of accomplishments is long and varied, given your love for maps, adding cartographer seems just right, and your readers, as always, will benefit from your attention to detail and determination to present the best book possible. Congratulations.


  6. Lana on February 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Definitely thumbs up on the cartographic skills. Maps do add value to those trying to visualize locales. The artistic additions of boots/specs, cat etc well in the tradition of dragons. Appreciate the high standards & thoroughness of all you do.

  7. Noel Bailey on February 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    What do I think? I think I want this book even more than before. I love maps and other details like that to enhance a story – thanks for this glimpse of wonderful future reading!

  8. Melody Kitchens on February 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Love the map. They help me to put things into perspective in my mind while I am reading. Thank-you for thinking of it, so I don’t have google them in the middle of my reading time

  9. Beth Lee-De Amici on February 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm


  10. Kath on February 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Lovely! I love maps in fiction. It reminds me of some of the old mysteries I read such as the Dell Map Back books, Nancy Drew and others. Thank you for great books and a flash of the past.

  11. Meredith T. on February 22, 2012 at 12:49 am


  12. Chris on February 22, 2012 at 2:33 am

    Perfect! I love the maps that lead me into your stories. Now, if only there was also a way of having a ‘scratch and sniff’ panel somewhere, and the flavour would be complete! When I re-read The Game, I am frequently drawn to the map – it’s integral to the book!

    (Find an old Malcolm Saville ”Lone Pine” book from the 40s/50s – all of these have maps to show where the children have their adventures, and it coloured my viewpoint for years!!!)


  13. Debora on February 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    This is beautiful. Now I am even more anxious to read the book than I was before — and I was pretty eager already. I can’t wait to find out what role the cat plays.


  14. Tina Hoggatt on February 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I love the map – you have great friends! Growing up, I’d read any book with a map in it. Maps say adventure and destination and things you have to keep track of. Looking forward to the book!

  15. Tim H. on February 23, 2012 at 4:13 am

    I’ve enjoyed maps in books since I read The Hobbit, that map looks like it will do very well in it’s book.

  16. Kate on February 23, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Looks great – can feel excitement building. I’m curious about the cat….

  17. The Bold Flying Officer on February 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Always said Johnny Cartographer was a clever chap. To that I will now add Laurie Cartographer who is, of course, a chapess! Maps are a great help in getting a sense of perspective when the action moves around an unfamiliar locale.

    Mike TBFO

  18. A fan of deduction on February 27, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Cool makes me fill in the gaps for what goes where, and the boots, glasses, and ring amazingly done.

  19. Pat Floyd on February 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Stunning! I love maps. If books don’t include them, I find my own. It’s wonderful to have the addition of a beautiful framework. I hope the cat means that this book will have a feline.

  20. Regan on March 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Love the map! It’s just beautiful. And I’m thrilled that the next adventure is set in Morocco. How much fun!

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