Cover Stories: Fingerprints of You

Kristen-Paige Madonia has a cover that stood out for me instantly. In a way it felt both old and new somehow. Anyway, here she is to tell its tale: "For the cover, I imagined something that had to do with San Francisco, maybe a gritty photo on Haight Street or a shot of a bus moving through the city, but nothing particularly specific. Authors, especially new ones, don't have much say when it comes to the cover design. There's a lot of trust involved with selling a book, and you essentially hand over the cover to the art director and hope for the best. My editor asked for my thoughts early on in the process, but the only request I made was not to include a picture of an actual person. It's a common design approach in YA, but for me I wanted to let the reader imagine what the central character, Lemon, looked like as opposed to including a photo of her on the cover. Other than that, I didn't make any specific suggestions.

"When I first saw my cover, I thought it was so unlike any cover I had ever seen, and I was thrilled with how distinct it was. The only information they gave me ahead of time was that they were creating 'something outside of the box,' so I wasn't sure what to expect. But it never crossed my mind that they were working on a tattoo-inspired design, we just never discussed it. It's a funny thing, to have an image that represents a project you've worked on for so long, but once Simon & Schuster shared the cover, it was clear that it was perfect for FINGERPRINTS OF YOU.

"They did ask for feedback, but in the end not much changed. We played with the background a little and added more texture. We also tweaked the color, which was originally slightly rose colored. In the end, we thought the cream color was a better fit, it seemed more edgy and more reflective of the mood of the book.

"The final cover art was a custom design and font created by a tattoo artist living in San Diego named Terry Ribera. My brilliant art director at Simon & Schuster, Krista Vossen, created the concept and the original sketch, and then she brought in Terry to draw the final art. Krista did an amazing job before she turned it over to Terry though, and once the book came out and I started receiving so many questions about the cover in interviews, she shared a lot of details about the process and, eventually the original sketch (below). I love the original sketch just as much I love the final cover, and I feel so fortunate that she worked as hard as she did to make sure the artwork represented the novel.

"I'm guessing that it's getting featured on shelves more frequently because the cover is so unique and colorful. It's absolutely perfect in terms of the story and represents the idea that Lemon is in the midst of taking flight as she stands on the brink of adulthood. The opening line of the novel reads, 'My mother got her third tattoo on my seventeenth birthday, a small navy hummingbird she had inked above her left shoulder blade, and though she said she picked it to mark my flight from childhood, it mostly had to do with her wanting to sleep with Johnny Drinko, the tattoo artist who worked in the shop outside town.' The image on the cover, of course, is the tattoo that Lemon's mother picks, but it also demonstrates her want for freedom and her search for her own identity."

Thanks, KPM! I'm super into it, and also: How tight is that first line?! (Um, and the JB blurb on the back--INCREDIBLE.) I'm sold.

What do you guys think?