Midnight Robber, my second novel, was published by Warner Aspect in 2000.
The cover was created for the novel by the wonderful artists Leo and Diane Dillon. I've admired their work for years, ever since I stumbled across a copy of Margaret Musgrove's abecedarium Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions at the public library where I was working at the time. The Dillons' art for that book drew me to it; immediately, I was a fan. So when my editor told me that the Dillons would be creating the cover art for Midnight Robber, I was ecstatic.
The cover was beautiful. It is such an incredible joy to see black people portrayed by people who know what they're doing. (I cringe when I see straightened hair on black women when the story is in a pre-20th century or post-apocalyptic-fallen-civilization-survival-story setting.) There was even more to make me happy, though; a little bit after the book was released, a friend of mine met Leo Dillon, who told her that he is of Trinidadian background. The world-building for Midnight Robber drew heavily on Trinidadian culture. And on top of it, I had found another Caribbean person professionally involved in science fiction.
An excerpt from Midnight Robber:
Plang-palang! Plang-palang! Cockpit County was in the full throes of Jour Ouvert morning revelry. People beat out their own dancing rhythms with bottle and spoon, tin-pan and stick. What a racket! Bodies danced everywhere: bodies smeared with mud; men's bodies in women's underwear; women wearing men's shirt-jacs and boxers; naked bodies. They pressed against the car, pressed against each other, ground and wound their hips in the ecstatic license of Carnival. Someone grinned into the limo at Tan-Tan and Mummy. The woman had temporarily cell-sculpted her skin to be Afro on one side, Euro on the other. The Euro side was already sunburnt. She licked the length of the window with her tongue, which had been intaglioed with a star-shaped sliver of puttied platinum. The metal scraped against the window glass. The limo crept along, slow as a chinny worm. A mako jumbie strode through the crowd, picking his way on his tall stilts. His tattered motley had been made into pants that clothed the stilts all the way to the ground. His chest was bare and he'd tied a long, pointy beak onto his face.
A Robber King stepped into the road in front of them, brandishing pistols almost as long as he was tall. He blew a shrieking whistle that brought to a halt the comess and carrying-on all around him. A circle of space cleared for him. People called out to him cheerfully and drew closer to see what he would do. The limousine braked, tried to go around the man. He stepped into their path again. Ione sighed. "Let he give he speech," she told the limo.