Taking Cover

Many years ago, when getting published seemed an impossible dream, my daughter suggested I have a reading with a psychic she knew.

The Psychic squinted into the middle distance, a glazed look in his eye: 'Yes' he said, 'You will get your novel published. I can see the cover. It's pink.'

'Sorry? Pink? Are you sure?'

'Absolutely sure. A really bright, flamingo pink.'

I didn't know whether to laugh or scream. Clearly the man was a charlatan. Pink was for romance, definitely not my subject matter.

Ten years and a few manuscripts later, the first book of my teen trilogy, 'The Henry Game' written under my real name, Susan Davis, came out with Random House. Guess what? The jacket was pink. The kind of Day-Glo pink that makes you reach for your sunglasses. My publishers assured me this was the hot colour for teenage girls. The sequels that followed were dark blue and green. While those sweetie colours were fun I had little choice in the matter.

Times change. Cover designs have come a long way, and there are some real beauties out there. Who can resist the gorgeous designs of those Scarlett Thomas novels? I confess it was the scarlet and gold cover with its look of an arcane symbol which made me grab 'The End of Mr.Y.' The content lived up to its promise. Not all books do sadly. Conversely a lot of wonderful stories are let down by lazy or clichéd jacket designs. The plague of covers featuring a pair of lower legs and feet are a bit of a turn-off for me. I don't care whether the girl is wearing knee socks, trainers or stilettos, I'll probably pass. Please...puh-leese designer's, can you come up with something up other than legs? I appreciate they suggest vulnerability, a heroine we can root for, but they've had erm...a good run.

Naturally covers are subjective, just like their contents. I'm a sucker for gothic. Show me a raven or a house with windows glowing in the night, and I'm hooked. Arty covers are always tempting. Indie author Katarina West's 'Absolute Truth for Beginners' with its split design of a green-gold Tuscan landscape is so delicious you could eat it.

Eve Seymour's soon to be published 'Beautiful Losers' is another stunner with its city lights reflected in wet streets. It makes such a change from the usual thriller cover.

Back to my cover story. Fast forward to 2014, and the cover design for 'TOVT' was a whole new ball game. Three Hares Books had the brilliant Jennie Rawlings on board, and her imagination and flair blew me away. Jenny was a dream to work with. The only problem was I now had no less than four amazing cover designs to choose from. Should I go for the scandi-style version of the cat slinking towards the cottage, seen below? Or was it to be the totem power animal against a backdrop of script, taken from Vida's diary. I couldn't resist the latter. If you think I made the right choice, let me know!