Author Archives: Melanie Crowder

About Melanie Crowder

Melanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children's Books, 2013). A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado. Visit her online at melaniecrowder.net.

Wish me Well

The last time you all heard from me, I was busy planning. Planning my blog tour, planning my book release, planning my launch party. I was so busy with promotion and all that, well, planning, that I stopped even trying to write.

More on that later. Let’s rewind to the 11th hour when I’d done everything imaginable to make Parched a success, and it was time for me to enjoy the ride.

First, the reviews came tumbling in. Anyone who says this isn’t terrifying is lying! Don’t believe them! But despite all the nervous-making, the reviews have been great! And if you mash the best bits all together, Parched sounds like the most awesome book ever written in the history of the human race. It’s a fun game, (if you’ll forgive me fudging the strict rules of citation and quotation). Let’s play:

Fans of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet (1987) will want this[1] thrilling, imaginative soul quencher. Crowder’s stunning debut is sure to become a modern classic.[2] The writing, especially the descriptions of the drought conditions and extreme thirst, is excellent[3] all the more impressive for its restraint.[4] Makes one want to love the whole world with more courage, gentleness and hope.[5]  ZOMG. ZOMG. ZOMG. EVERYTHING I COULD WANT IN A MIDDLE-GRADE. OMG.[6]

[1] Booklist

[2] Rita Williams-Garcia

[3] School Library Journal

[4] Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

[5] Elizabeth Phinney, Amazon

[6] Eden, Goodreads

See—that was fun, right? The thing is, you can’t take reviews too personally—positive or negative—if you want to keep writing. But more on the whole writing bit later.

After the reviews came release day.

Launch Party! (Yes, I was smiling that big the entire time!)

Launch Party! (Yes, my smile was that huge the entire time!)

You’d think that seeing your book on a bookshelf in a bookstore would be the most thrilling thing about that day.  And don’t get me wrong—it was great, really great. But by far, the best thing about launching my debut novel was seeing the community that had built up around me rise up and hold my book high for the world to see. It’s the best feeling, ever.

The Emu crew threw me a fantastic blog party, and my agency mates tossed confetti all over facebook and twitter. Fellow Vermont College alums and students posted pics of my book all over the country and penned swoon-worthy reviews. The Lucky 13s celebrated in their own bomb-diggity style. My launch party at Tattered Cover was packed with teachers from my school, buddies from my tennis and soccer teams, family and a few very supportive local writer friends.

It was amazing. Really. I feel so very honored.

It took me a while to come down from all that excitement. Promoting a book and writing a book use very different parts of my brain, and they don’t always play nicely together. But any writer worth her salt will tell you that resting and thinking and reading are as important to the writing process as actually getting the words down on page.

And I still wasn’t quite ready for the writing part…

My book launch ended in some lovely, surprising news. My next two Young Adult novels were picked up by Philomel Books and I signed on for another middle grade with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. That makes three books on the horizon for me. I always wanted a long and varied writing career, and now, there it is, right in front of me.

So last week, I cleaned my office. I put away all my bookmarks and teacher guides, and I celebrated the last leg of my blog tour. It had been about two months since I had worked on one of my stories, since I had written anything other than a blog post or press release.

It was time. I was rested. My mind was quiet and I was eager to get going again.

I’d love to tell you that the words flowed onto the page, that it was a delightful, inspiring week. It was not. I wrote very little, and not very well. By the end of the week, I had 2,000 words, a quantity some writers can crank out in a morning.

But writing is as much about habit and discipline as it is about inspiration. I know how to get myself back into the habit of writing, so that the inspiration is welcome. I know that the words will come, and that they will be good, if not the first time around, then maybe the second, or the third. I’ve got a great community around me who will challenge me and cheer me on as I write my way through this story and the next one, and the one after that.

I am so very proud of Parched. And I will continue to spread the word about this story to schools and libraries and readers, wherever I can find them. But as people much wiser than I have said, the best part of your writing career should always be your work in progress.

So off I go, to get to work. Wish me well, Emus.

______________________________________________

Parched cover imageThis is Melanie’s last post as an Emu’s Debut. In the future, you’ll find her up in the Emu Emeriti tab, or in the comments section, or at her own website: www.melaniecrowder.net.

She graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Melanie is the author of PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013) and AUDACITY (Philomel, 2015).

 

Advertisements

27 Comments

Filed under Book Promotion, Book signing, Celebrations, Editor, Farewell, Happiness, Promotion, Thankfulness, Writing

Monsters Galore!

monstore_1 (2)

Look at these illustrations! Amazing, right?

Well, today we have the oh-so-talented James Burks on the blog to tell us all about them! Welcome, James!

monstore_1

 

Will you share with us a little bit about the process–how it works when a publisher brings a story to you? Do you send them samples or sketches? Or do they know you’re so awesome that they beg you to take the contract?

JB: The process is a little different depending on the project and the publisher. Sometimes you have to do samples and compete against other artists and then the publisher picks the one that they think best fits the project. That wasn’t the case with the Monstore. They had contacted my agent out of the blue after seeing something on my website that caught their eye. So they had already decided they wanted me to do the project. All I had to do was say, “YES!” Fortunately, there was no begging involved on anyone’s part. They asked and I said “YES.” Easy-peasy.

What was your first impression of the manuscript? When did it begin to come to life in your mind?

I think I was excited about this project before I even read the manuscript. All I had to see was the title and I was hooked. A book about a store that sells monsters. How could I pass that up? When I take on new projects one of the first things I consider is; Will this be a fun project to draw? And with the Monstore the answer was a big YES! Drawing monsters ranks right up there with aliens, dinosaurs, and cats. monstore sketchesThe first thing I did after reading the manuscript was start drawing pages and pages of monsters or various shapes and sizes. They had multiple eyes, multiple arms, you name it, the kookier the better. Then I went back through and picked the ones that I thought best represented the main characters of Manfred, Mookie, and Mojo.

3. Did Tara leave you any illustrator notes, or were the artistic choices all up to you?

There were minimal illustration notes. I think Tara was comfortable enough to let me take the reins on the visuals for the book. That’s what I do. I take words and turn them into pictures. Even if there had been a lot of illustration notes I probably would have still sketched out what I was seeing in my head. Then if Tara or the publisher wanted something else I’d give them something else. But initially I have to go with my gut. Once I start second guessing myself then the creative process comes to a screeching halt and that’s no fun. I think every illustrator has a certain point of view and that’s why they are asked to do projects. If someone else had illustrated the Monstore it would have probably looked very different. My goal as an illustrator is not to just illustrate what was written but to take the story to another level. To create a world beyond just the words where these characters exist. Almost like they are living and breathing. This includes giving all the monsters names and sometimes a backstory that wasn’t in the manuscript. That’s just how my brain works.

Monstore_4

4. It must have been so much fun creating all those monsters–each one is unique! Which is your favorite?

Working on the Monstore was a ton of fun. I really pushed myself artistically to the next level not only with the character designs but also the overall look of the book and how it was colored. Which monster is my favorite? Hmmm… wow, there are so many good choices. How can I possibly choose one? I guess if I had to pick one it would be “Peepers.” He’s the little eyeball monster that appears in various places through out the book. He tends to hide in the shadows here and there just outside the light. So keep your eyes peeled for little ol’ Peepers. He might just follow you home.

monstore_2

5. What did I miss?

On the technical side of things. I did all the initial sketches of the monsters, kids, and the manager in my sketchbook as well as the rough page layouts. Then once I had something that worked I scanned those into my computer where I used Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq monitor to do all the final art including the color. The text you see in the speech bubbles of the kids is actually my own hand writing. I made a custom font a few years back and use it on most of my books.

I guess that’s about it. I hope everyone enjoys the Monstore as much as I did creating it. Thanks so much for taking the time to ask me these great questions.  See ya at the Monstore!

You bet! See ya at the Monstore!

James Burks started his art career working in the animation industry on various movies and television shows, including THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE, ATLANTIS, TREASURE PLANET, HOME ON THE RANGE, SPACE JAM, THE IRON GIANT, WOW WOW WUBBZY, FAN BOY & CHUM CHUM and currently on the Cartoon Hangover show BRAVEST WARRIORS. James’ first book Gabby and Gator (Yen Press) was a Junior Library Guild Selection as well as a CTA Read Across America title for 2012. His other books include Beep and Bah (Carolrhoda) and BIRD & SQUIRREL ON THE RUN (Scholastic/Graphix). James is currently hard at work on his next graphic novel Bird and Squirrel on Ice.

Visit him online at www.jamesburks.com.

10 Comments

Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations, cover art, Interviews

Teacher Appreciation Week

This is a book I wrote in elementary school. The definitive sequel to Julie of the Wolves, in which the main character travels to San Francisco to live with her pen-pal. Why yes, I did the cover art myself! Don’t you think the dress made out of white-out is a nice touch?cover

My fourth grade teacher really earned this dedication (and not just for saving his laughter for the teacher lounge!)

dedication

Finally, the “About the Author” page.

about the author

(As it turns out, I am much better suited to be a writer than a marine biologist.) —Melanie Crowder

I was very fortunate to have teachers from an early age who encouraged my writing. Mrs. Wandschneider told me to keep writing when I was in fourth grade. In fifth grade, Mr. Holm laughed so hard at one of my poems that he cried. In seventh grade, Mrs. Mueller said something I wrote gave her chills. And, in high school, Mr. Harrell relentlessly pushed me to get better and Mrs. Veidemanis had me read Nora Ephron for inspiration. Thanks to them, I always saw myself as a writer, which made all the difference. —Pat Zietlow Miller

I had so many great teachers, I really don’t want to pick just one. Instead, I’d like to say thank you to each and every one of them. I was always a rule follower who loved school, but I’m still sure it wasn’t easy teaching the shy little know-it-all hiding in the back reading the paperback tucked inside her textbook. These days, my son has a favorite teacher from an earlier grade whom he still talks about nearly every week. In his words, she is the best teacher ever, because, he says, “She never told us what to do, she just inspired us to do it.” Not an easy feat to pull off, but such a lofty goal for all of us to aspire to, I think. —Laurie Ann Thompson

Most of my teachers were outstanding, The rest get to have a villain named after them in my novels. But seriously, having been a teachers’ aide, I can tell you firsthand that teachers are *way* under-compensated for their work and that they deserve those summers off (even though most of them continue working or furthering their education over the summer). —Carol Brendler

My favorite teacher was Cookie Schneiderman, although I never dared call her “Cookie”. I couldn’t figure out WHY her name was Cookie, but I thought it was pretty awesome and I wanted to change my name to Cookie, too!

Mrs. Schneiderman just happened to be my neighbor–our backyards shared a common wooded space. All my third grade classmates thought I snuck over there to steal test answers, but I was invited over for milk and cookies (real cookies) and chats about books and writing.

I admit, I was the teacher’s pet. It was obvious from the first day of school when she asked me to help pass out name tags. The other kids rolled their eyes and coughed “pet”, but I thought it was a privilege to be the teacher’s favorite. I strove to impress her.

Unfortunately I don’t recall exactly what she told me about writing, but she encouraged me and didn’t laugh when I said I wanted to be like Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. She let me write extra-long stories when the assignments were only 100 words–she knew I wanted to go further.

I’ve been trying to get in touch with Mrs, Schneiderman, but so far no luck. Are you out there, Cookie? Let’s get together for milk and chocolate chip. —Tara Lazar (nee Mahon)

From elementary school through college, I had so many teachers who encouraged my writing that I feel bad singling out just one! But I would like to share my appreciation for my 9th-grade English teacher, Lois Bassen. She was a published and produced playwright, and probably the first adult I’d ever met who was a serious writer. I still remember the big creative writing assignment she gave us for the year: write a fairy tale and then use the ideas of psychologist Bruno Bettelheim to analyze it. It was a revelation to think that something I wrote might be as worthy of close reading and analysis as classic Greek myths and great European novels (which Mrs. Bassen did a great job of teaching us, too). That class was the place where I started to realize that becoming a published author wasn’t necessarily a pipe dream, but something that hard-working real people could accomplish. —Tara Dairman

…and to round it out, Laurie wrote an entire post on the topic here!

_________________________________________________________________________________

Melanie Crowder Author PhotoMelanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013). A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado.

Visit her online at melaniecrowder.net.

1 Comment

Filed under Education, Thankfulness

It’s Blog Tour Time

Pat posted on Monday about patience, about the time between stages in the publishing process. I’m on the homestretch with my debut, PARCHED. Under two months to go until release day and, yep, it’s all about patience.

… and promotion

Right now, that means I’m working on my blog tour. While the brick and mortar tour isn’t realistic for most authors today, we can still travel the country, and even the world, virtually.

What is a blog tour, you ask?

Well, a blog tour is a series of interviews, author guest posts, photo blogs, video blogs, reviews and special features where an author hops from one book blogging website to another in the weeks around her release.

There are a few ways you can do this:

1) Let your publicist arrange the whole thing.
2) Contract one of the many children’s and YA book blogs who offer the service for a fee to arrange and host your blog tour for you.
3) Do it all yourself.

Any guesses as to which option I chose?
Yep. Number 3.

The great thing about setting it up all by myself is that I get to choose the sites I think will best suit my story. I get to meet lots of enthusiastic kidlit folks and reach a wider audience than I would otherwise.

So, since nobody really told me how to do this, or what a blog tour should look like, I made up my own rules. They look something like this:

1) Find awesome bloggers who love middle grade lit. Send them an email. If they are too busy, don’t take it personally. If they are interested, awesome.
2) Don’t worry if the dates get a little scattered. Getting that many people’s schedules to line up perfectly is crazy-making (and, seriously, who is counting?)
3) Pick an end point and stop there. Remember, all those posts you line up are like homework assignments –fun and interesting assignments—but work all the same. Don’t sign yourself up for more than you can handle.

So that’s my blog tour plan. I lined up 3 weeks (give or take) of great blogs to visit around my June 4 release day. I think it’s going to be fun. Check back in a couple of months and I’ll post the full schedule. For now though, I have to get going … I have some interview questions to answer.

_________________________________________________________________________________

MC Author Photo CroppedMelanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013). A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado.

Visit her online at melaniecrowder.net.

4 Comments

Filed under Book Promotion

The Run/Rest Cycle

If you didn’t already know, March is Iditarod season. Mushers and their dogsled teams are racing right now across Alaska. In order to travel over 1,000 miles of mountain ranges, ice cold water, snow-blown tundra and sea ice, the musher has to plan for a sustainable yet fast run/rest cycle. However long and hard the dogs have run determines how long they need to rest to recover for the next push on down the trail.

My writing buddy Hannah with a team of her family's dogs. There is nothing like Alaska!

My writing buddy Hannah with a team of her family’s dogs. Isn’t Alaska amazing!

I find that the same is true for writing. I have my own patterns of run and rest times. I push through a draft, or revision notes, waking up early before work every day to get in an hour of that great clear-headed first-thing-in-the-morning writing time. But when the draft is off, to beta readers or just sitting in a drawer for a few weeks, I take a much-needed rest. I read books, I watch TV, and I catch up on laundry and exercise.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I need space from my manuscript. We need time away from each other for ideas to simmer, for problems to rise to the surface, and most importantly, for me to regain objectivity.

But there is another thing that happens when I allow myself to rest. When my active mind has stopped working on the story, my subconscious mind gets going. I’m not sure how to describe what happens next for me . . .

It’s like I’m in a tunnel on a mine cart, sitting comfortably, looking at my lovely story. But then the cart begins to move out of the dark tunnel and into the sunlight. I’m on sensory overload: the sounds and smells, the depth of vision, the contrast of light and dark.

Suddenly, the possibilities for my story have blown right open. The bar has been raised, and a new goal for the project (a goal I wasn’t even aware of being able to reach for before) materializes.

What would happen if I didn’t give myself that rest, if I didn’t take long, intentional steps away? I believe that my stories would be doomed to mediocrity, that I would be severely limiting myself and my work.

It’s hard. It’s really hard to get going again after a rest, once I realize all that needs to be done. I know how difficult that work is going to be, and often I’m not even sure how to go about it.

Just like the mushers, I’d imagine. The trail ahead might have strong headwinds or glare ice, or soft, deep snow that slows the team down. You’re sore from ski-poling and your voice is hoarse from cheering on your dogs through blowing snow (and this year, rain!) But you love the unexpected journey, the rugged trail, or you wouldn’t be out there. So you push through. And when you finally reach the finish line, all that hard work is worth it.

Right now, I’m resting. Soon, my readers will get back to me, and I’ll start running again. But for the next few days at least, I’ll be watching the race up north, cheering on my favorite team, and gathering strength for the next stretch of trail ahead of me.

_________________________________________________________________________________
MC Author Photo CroppedMelanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013). A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado.

Visit her online at melaniecrowder.net.

12 Comments

Filed under craft~writing, Writing and Life

Zen and the Art of Book Promotion

The whole point of Emu’s Debuts is that we’re beginners here. We’re figuring this out as we go. No matter how long we hoped and worked and dreamed that we would be published, for all of us, this is our first time out of the gate.

It’s like parenting. You can’t practice, not really. You can’t prepare, though countless self help books and seminars would have you believe otherwise. There is a steep learning curve. For everyone.

These days, authors are expected to be very active in promoting their books. This introverted, often painfully shy sector of society is supposed to suddenly transform into a dervish of charming, bubbly wit. There now, I’ve made writers sound dull, haven’t I? It’s not that—it’s just that sometimes we are more comfortable in our imagined worlds than we are in the real one.

There are plenty of informational articles and even entire blogs that spell out exactly what an author should do in each of the 12 months leading up to launch day. Here is a short list, just to give you an idea:

  • sign up for twitter
  • contact book sellers
  • print bookmarks
  • design catchy tie-in temporary tattoos
  • build a website
  • tweet
  • make a book trailer
  • plan a cover reveal
  • arrange a blog tour
  • make a press kit
  • host giveaways
  • tweet
  • contact media outlets
  • present at conferences
  • sign up for ARC tours
  • plan a launch party
  • schedule school visits
  • tweet some more

Really, I could go on. And on. And on. If you let it, promotion can completely take over.

The thing is, nobody is going to remember my fancy press kit. And those temporary tattoos are going to fade after a shower or two. But our young readers will remember our stories.

I have just over three months until Parched hits the shelves. In that time, I’ll pick and choose from the list above, doing the things that will connect me with bloggers and teachers and librarians, with the kids who have been craving a story just like this one.

But most of the time, I won’t even be thinking about marketing and promotion. I’ll be writing.

_________________________________________________________________________________
MC Author Photo CroppedMelanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013). A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado.

Visit her online at melaniecrowder.net.

13 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Book Promotion, Promotion, Social Media

Sea Glass

I visited family on the Oregon coast over the holidays. For those of you who’ve never been there, it’s a rugged, beautiful place. In the winter, storms hammer the beaches, uprooting seaweeds, ripping buoys from their moorings and crushing it all against the rocks.

I went for a walk early one morning. There was no one on the beach; the water had retreated from the cliffs and laid bare a long stretch of sand. December is not the time to go beachcombing for sand dollars or scallop shells, so you’ll understand my amazement when I found a light bulb as big as a basketball lying like a beached jellyfish in the sand.

Where had it come from? Did it fall from the cabin of a passing trawler? Or from a bayside cannery warehouse? Wreckage from the tsunami in Japan has been washing up on Oregon beaches for months—but a light bulb? How could such a delicate thing separate from its fittings, travel across the great expanse of the Pacific, and somehow dodge the watery minefield of coastal rocks to perch safely in the sand?

Because I knew the tide was on its way back in, I picked up the light bulb and tucked it behind a tuft of beach grass, thinking that I’d finish my walk, then take it up off the beach. If it had made it all this way, the least I could do was keep it safe from the incoming tide. But by the time I finished my walk, it was gone. Someone else must have found it, and, struck by the absurdity of a giant light bulb in a patch of beach grass, carried it away.

It was just trash, really. Flotsam. But it was beautiful, too, in a sad sort of way. Of course, writers see metaphor in everything, but I like to think there was a message for me in that glass bulb finding its way onto the sand. I’m writing a novel in verse right now. Poems are fragile, particular things, while novels are unruly and unpredictable. It isn’t easy getting the two to work together.

I’m wondering what things you’ve seen, what images have shaped and formed your writing, or given you that little nudge of encouragement when you needed it. Please do share in the comments—I’d love to hear it!

 

13 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, craft~writing, Writing and Life

Trust the Process

When I was working toward my MFA, there were times when I couldn’t see how much I was improving, whether all those essays and drafts and rewrites were making me a better writer. I couldn’t see into the future. All I could do was trust the process.

Two years later, I feel like I’m back in the same place.

My debut novel is finished and off to the printers. I’m working now on revisions for my next middle grade book. But you guys, this revision is really hard.

Adi said on Monday that being published doesn’t make you a writer. Hard work and vision and intention does that. I’ll add that being published doesn’t make revising any easier either. I would have thought that going through the edits for PARCHED would have made me more confident and efficient at revising.

Not so. At least not that I can see yet. Revision on this side of the book deal is just as messy as ever.

Some days I think my characters are delightful and the setting is fantastic. Other days, I question everything. The worst, though, is when I’m tempted to rush through, to slap on a few bandaids, dab some superglue into the cracks and call it good.

By the time I finished my degree, the transformation in my writing was obvious. Similarly, I know I learned things by writing and rewriting and rewriting PARCHED. I just can’t see it yet. And it’s not making this revision any easier.

But that’s okay. I’ve been here before. I know that I can trust the process.

19 Comments

Filed under Editing and Revising, Writing and Life

Out of my Hands

There is nothing even keel or humdrum about this whole “write a book and send it out into the world” thing. It’s thrilling! And it’s terrifying.

Think about it: you write a book. You pour your soul into it. You show it to a trusted few readers who give you lots of encouragement and lots of work to do. So you get back to work, revising, reworking, rethinking.

Then one miraculous day, the book is acquired. Thrilling! And you get your first editorial letter. And then another. Then there are line edits and copy edits, and with each new round, you worry: “What if I can’t get it right?” What if I mess it all up?”

But you do your best, and you trust your story. Then before you know it, it’s time for the first page pass, which just may be the most thrilling and terrifying of all.  Let’s start with the terrifying, just to get it out of the way.

  1. This is your last chance to change anything before the book goes to print.
  2. The ARCs will be made from the same file, so any mistakes in the FPPs will be seen by anyone reviewing the book.
  3. This is your last chance to change anything.

But seeing those pages for the first time is also incredibly thrilling.

See the font they chose? Doesn’t it look … well, parched?

And look, the name of that chapter’s point of view character is at the bottom of each page.

Okay, I did more than just admire the typesetting. I combed through every sentence, hunting for errors and inconsistencies. I write pretty thin, so every little change feels enormous. Like this one, on page 4, line 15 below: the fragment of the word “ing” ends before the indentation of the following paragraph begins. So my editor asked me to add a word. Just one. That should be easy enough, right? 

Well, I wouldn’t say it was easy. But I did it. And as a reward, look what showed up on my doorstep over the weekend!

So that’s it. My job—the writing—is done.

It’s out of my hands. And that is truly thrilling. And truly terrifying.

7 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Editing and Revising

NERVE: a cover conversation

Is that an intense cover, or what?

I sat down with Tony Sahara, the artist who designed the cover for NERVE to see if I could figure out how he captured the energy and dynamism of Jeanne Ryan’s debut in a single image.

MC: Hi Tony, and welcome to Emu’s Debuts! First, I have to say, the cover is stunning. Were there any key scenes in the book that helped you form this image?

TS: Thank you for your kind comment! The cover art is not based on specific scenes literally. The events in the story occur in cyber space, and urban settings; the characters use gadgets which contain computer chips, etc. Things in the art may look like these things, but I tried to transform them into abstract elements that related to the drama and the essence of the story.  

MC: I love all those overlapping lines–they make for a really dynamic image, full of tension and suspense and danger. What’s your favorite part?

TS: My favorite part is the wavy lines. They give it a disorienting feel. I’m happy with how the whole thing came out. this cover could have ended up looking too horror or too Sci-fi. We spent a lot of time tweaking the art to avoid having a misleading look.

MC: I definitely think this cover is going to stand out on the bookshelf. How did you decide on a monchromatic color scheme?

TS: We were basically going for an edgy and sophisticated look. In fact, the art was very monochromatic at one point. We thought about printing the art in black, using silver ink for the white areas. But we decided to use brighter colors for the sake of commercial appeal. We tried various tints such as red, yellow, green, and then agreed on blue.

MC: Very edgy, and very sophisticated, indeed! Can you tell us a little about how you got the model in the photograph to look so alive?

TS: There was no photo shoot, and the girl in the art is not from one photo. I created her using several stock photos. The background is also made of more than a dozen photos. Then I manipulated them and put them together to create the final cover art.

Thanks, Tony, and congratulations, Jeanne on a fantastic cover and a thrilling debut!

6 Comments

Filed under Book Promotion, cover art