We are big fans of Steven dos Santos’s first series The Torch Keeper. Today, we are THRILLED to reveal the fantastic cover of his next book, Dagger. Dagger was turned down by an agent back in 2008 because it had a gay protagonist—now, it’s finally being published! Along with revealing this fantastic new cover, we also got to talk to Steven about how it feels to have this book published, diversity in publishing, and why Dagger should be on your TBR come September.
When Ultimate Evil engulfs the entire world, only Dagger can pierce the Darkness—even if the Apocalypse falls on a school night!
Dagger Beaumont is a High School senior who’s been recruited by D.U.S.T. – a covert governmental organization dedicated to battling supernatural terrorism all over the globe.
However, Dagger’s unresolved conflict over his missing brother could be his undoing, as he races around the world battling the Dark Reich, a diabolical organization on a quest to possess an ancient artifact and unleash a mystical plague to enslave humanity. If that weren’t treacherous enough, Dagger must juggle his life as a secret agent with his social life, where he faces romantic rivalry for the guy of his dreams, a mysterious and handsome new student at his haunted boarding school.
But in a high-stakes world where nothing is as it seems, and death lurks in every shadow, love rides shotgun with survival!
Isn’t it GREAT?! Definitely makes me want to pick up this book ASAP.
Here’s what Steven has to say about finally getting this book published, diversity in publishing, and more!
Vee: In a previous interview, you shared that you’ve encountered some roadblocks getting Dagger published. Even though an agent LOVED the book, they turned it down because the main character was gay, and she thought that wouldn’t sell. In light of that, how does it feel to finally be getting this book published?
Steven: Can you say VINDICATED? I’m not going to resort to “Told ya so’s,” or sticking out my tongue, or any crude hand gestures, but it does feel wonderful to finally release my baby Dagger into the world after all these years!
V: What changed to make the publishing of Dagger possible? Was it the industry? Did you pitch it to more inclusive agents/publishers? What happened to make this a reality?
S: Sadly, not much in the traditional publishing industry has changed since 2008, when I first tried getting Dagger published. Though there has been a spotlight placed on diversity in Children’s & YA Lit in the last few years in particular, and things have improved, I still came across the same familiar road blocks when I resumed submitting Dagger for publication more recently. While many publishers claimed they thought Dagger was a very fun and exciting story, cinematic, etc., they didn’t feel it was a “right fit” for them. Fortunately, I discovered Evernight Teen, a publishing house that truly does embrace diversity and is not afraid to take “risks” in publishing stories that feature diverse protagonists.
V: What parts of Dagger are you most excited to share with readers?
S: Dagger, who is the main character, was very fun to write! He’s a little cocky, enjoys witty banter, while at the same can be a badass kicking evil’s butt all over the globe. Think James Bond/Mission Impossible meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you can get a good idea of the tone of the book. There’s a lot of action, adventure, and romance in Dagger, and I can’t wait to introduce him and his charming personality to readers!
V: Let’s talk about the cover! How do you think it fits with the theme of the book? And what was the design process like?
S: OMG! I was completely blown away by the gorgeous job Artist Jay Aheer did on the cover for Dagger! She truly captured the mystery and intrigue of the book. I particularly like how the cover resembles a map on old parchment, and the little sketches of iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, etc. highlight all of Dagger’s globe-hopping perfectly! Even Dagger himself is rendered like a painting you might find in an ancient palace ceiling somewhere. And the targeting scope on the logo ties in the whole spy theme quite nicely. Working with Jay was a pleasure. She’s very open to suggestions and we had a very pleasant back and forth exchanging ideas that made it seem effortless (at least for me since I didn’t have to draw anything, lol). I hope I’m lucky enough to have her work on my next cover!
And if you want to help support Dagger’s release on Social Media, join the Thunderclap Campaign and help spread the word!
Thanks so much for allowing me to share the cover for Dagger with you!