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K. A. Servian | When a One-Off Project Becomes an Obsession

September 6, 2018

When I was writing THE MORAL COMPASS, the first novel in the Shaking the Tree trilogy, I went in search of a suitable image for the cover. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of women in 1850s costume that even came close to what I wanted.

So, using my knowledge of history of costume, pattern making and garment construction, I made a costume, found a model and photographed the image I had in my head.

Most people would probably leave it there. However, I was writing a trilogy, so I had to make more costumes for the different periods in which my books were set. A bustle dress for the 1870s and a leg-O-mutton sleeve ensemble with a huge hat for the 1890s came next.

This process has sparked an obsession. I love everything about making costumes; from the research, sourcing the fabric and trims, drafting the pattern, construction of the garment, making the accessories, and the hours of hand finishing these garments require. And the cherry on the cake is photographing the completed outfits so the images will make good book covers. So far, I’ve made garments representing the Regency period (c.1815), early Victorian (1840s), mid-Victorian (1850s), mid-late Victorian (1870s), late Victorian (1890s) and pre WW1 (c.1912).

Of course, I have made more costumes than I will ever be able to use on my own book covers, so I’ve made many of the images available on Shutterstock so other writers and cover designers can use them too. I’ve seen some of the images pop up on covers over the past few months and I always get a kick when I see them. It feels good to be providing a service to other writers.

I have plans for more, but the main issue is fitting everything I want to achieve into the time I have available, oh, yes, and finding somewhere to store all the costumes.

About K.A. Servian

An overwhelming urge to create led Kathy to pursue qualifications in both fashion design and applied design to fabric which were followed by a twenty year career in the fashion and applied arts industries and a crafting habit Martha Stewart would be proud of.

Kathy then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills she’d accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from that manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Her second novel, Throwing Light was published in February 2017 and her third novel, The Moral Compass in late 2017.

Kathy now squeezes full time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing around writing the sequel to The Moral Compass, teaching sewing and being a wife and mother.



Shaking the Tree

A Pivotal Right

Florence struggled for breath as she stared in the face of a ghost. “Jack?”

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift for medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack’s child?

A Pivotal Right is the second book in the Shaking the Tree series set in colonial New Zealand. It continues the story of Jack and Florence begun in The Moral Compass.

Romance Historical [Sweet Pea Publishing, On Sale: August 15, 2018, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780473449698 / ]

Buy A PIVOTAL RIGHT: | Kindle | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon Aust

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