Jennifer Echols is on a GCC tour this week, and she stopped by to share a fantastic Cover Story for her just-released novel, GOING TOO FAR. "For Going Too Far, I asked my editor for a cover like the original Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist cover, where Nick and Norah are a black-and-white blur, kissing. I also suggested the cover of Niki Burnham's Sticky Fingers, which is a bit more provocative. Bottom line, I wanted to show both the hero and the heroine on the cover so it would be obvious this is a romantic book.
"Last Fourth of July while on vacation at the beach, I was in the lobby of the movie theater, waiting in line to see Wall-E with my family, looking around at the movie posters and wondering how my book would be marketed (really!), when my phone buzzed with an e-mail from my editor, cover attached. I cringed. I held my breath and counted to 10. I hoped against hope this cover was not U-G-L-Y, because I have writer friends who have been unlucky. Then I pressed the button to look at the picture, and of course I had lost my signal. AHHHHHHH! I walked around the lobby, waving my phone in the air, and finally the file came through (right).
"I thought: I am very, very lucky.
"But by the time I got home from vacation, I'd thought of some things I wanted changed. I did NOT want to seem like a nitpicky diva to the art department at MTV Books. But I think covers really matter. I remember paying a lot more attention to covers when I was a teenager.In fact, when I was 19 I was introduced to what's still one of my favorite novels, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, and I was absolutely appalled at the cover. I know this is tiny but it's the only picture of that edition I've been able to find.
"Okay, why is Brett wearing a hat in this picture? It is a HUGE DEAL that she does NOT wear a hat in the book. She is going against social mores, especially in the conservative parts of Europe where she's traveling, by not wearing a hat. Old Spanish ladies kick her out of church for not wearing a hat. I had such a reaction to this irony that I painted it to get my feelings out. I really like the painting, though. It's still hanging in my den.
"So anyway, I did not want readers like me to get pissed off that the cover of Going Too Far didn't match the book, as if no one on the publishing end noticed or cared. That's why it really bothered me that Meg's eye was brown on the cover. In the book she has blue eyes, and it's the hero John who has deep brown eyes that will melt you. So I asked MTV if they would make her eye blue, pleeeease, just for me, I will never ask for anything else.
"Now I'm like, people, she has no pupil (left). Her blue eye is glowing like she's on Dune. Readers are going to think this is a paranormal when it's not. So MTV fixed it for me (actual cover at top).
"I couldn't be happier with this cover. I think it conveys exactly what you will find in the book."
I love the cover too--it's so intimate and up close. I also love that Jennifer fought for the little details, and that she painted her anger about the Hemingway cover away. Art therapy! I get so mad when covers don't match the book's insides. What do you guys think?
Quick PS-I'm reading today at the Bronx Library Center, 310 E. Kingsbridge Road, 4-5pm. Joining me are Coe Booth, Madeleine George, Paul Griffin and Brian Sloan. COME! And be a part of the Teen Author Festival on Facebook.