Cover Story

Well, it could have ended in divorce, but luckily I was able to work with my husband the artist on producing with a proper cover for The Novice Master. Frank is very talented, but not always pleased with the dictator-novelist breathing down his neck. He came through with a great cover, as he usually does. I’ll reveal the cover here as soon as I get my print proofs from CreateSpace: They’re whining about the DPIs or some such things, so I have to see first if we’ve really pulled this whole thing off, or not.

There must be a thousand blogs about why book covers are so important, so I’m not even going to bother here. It’s obvious, isn’t it: How many seconds does a reader’s eyes linger on a cover image? Either it appeals or it doesn’t. The current trend seems to be strange fonts and scribbly writing slapped on a vividly colored page; I don’t like it at all! I like nice art on a cover, harmonious color, a hint of what’s to come inside, something evocative and soothing to the eye.

So here’s the story of my cover: I found my art at an estate sale, a graceful rendering of a thoughtful monk at his writing easel, perfect since my ‘Novice Master’ character had been a monastic who wrote a book on spirituality, before losing his faith completely. The folks running the sale gave me a very difficult time, claiming the piece I’d picked out was part of a set that couldn’t be broken up and was also mismarked to an outrageously low price; but in the end I prevailed by simply standing my ground and refusing to leave until I got the low price and without buying the whole damned set. Which was a good thing, because it turned out the picture was merely a print that had been hastily painted over. So not worth very much after all. Some Internet research turned up the original image and hooray, it’s in the public domain! And it was far superior to my garage-sale print, which looks quite nice on my office wall, however.

We cropped it in a very provocative way, showing only the monk’s handsome chin and mouth, to reflect a certain sexual theme in the book—not that any casual shopper is likely to catch it, but I was pleased with my little secret joke. The colors are muted, a bit on the gold/brown side, and I like the warmth of it. I hope it says, “This is a gentle, elegant novel with an occasional twist or shock, but very satisfying to read.”

And now a quick word about my blog readers in general: Who are you folks in South America who are viewing my posts? Hopefully not scammers, but it’s a little unnerving to see that little map of Brazil keep turning up in my stats! And to my friends who’ve been supporting the blog on Facebook, thanks ever so much: Hope you’ll enjoy my book!

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