My Beautiful Book Cover

Admittedly, it was hard to nail down a cover for my genre-blending mystery/thriller/romantic suspense/gothic novel. What image would best encapsulate the story while intriguing readers?

The book delves into chiaroscuro, both in art and in literature, so the book cover should reflect that dramatic contrast between light and darkness.

My main character, Annora Garde, is an art conservator who is hired by the police to help clean a long-hidden, cryptic mural that holds clues and could solve a sixty year old cold case. It seemed natural to weave symbols into a cover for a novel that explores symbolism. Within the book, I mention many sources of light. But which one could be used symbolically?

It came to me: fireflies.

The firefly is a strange insect. From a distance, it seems to be magical, fairy-like, almost angelic, certainly benign. But as a larvae, the insect is a carnivore; it ravenously feeds on snails and slugs which are too slow to escape them. The victims are first injected with a numbing chemical and then are consumed alive. Some adults eat their own kind, and certain species even use their light to lure prey. Also, Victorians believed that should a firefly enter a home, it was an omen of death, and the book’s setting is a large Victorian parsonage.. Fireflies, not as pretty as they look.

In the Victorian language of flowers, the peony symbolizes love, compassion, honour and luck, but the wilting, dying peony is considered a harbinger of a disaster to come. (Look carefully at the peonies on my cover. What do you see?)

Though I feel awkward about the size of my name on the cover, I chose to not request that it be made smaller. Both the publisher and the designer, Nicole Lecht, had worked hard on the design, and I was so happy with everything else, I chose to keep my shyness to myself.

I can’t wait to hold this beauty. I made a ‘mock-up’ cover, just to see what that would feel like. It felt bloody awesome! It felt like a dream come true. My husband said that if I was this happy with my cloned book that I’d probably happy-bawl when I hold the real thing.

He knows me so well. I will have a box of tissues on stand by.


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