Cover Stories: Masque of the Red Death

Bethany Griffin is here today to talk about her cover for Masque of the Red Death, which is a twist on Edgar Allen Poe's gothic short story (cool!). The cover has atmosphere in spades. Here's Bethany: "I think that covers are the most exciting thing, seeing a visual interpretation of your work, and every time we've sold a foreign right, a part of me is jumping up and down going, Another cover! Another cover! But, I didn't have an image in mind as I wrote.

"In retrospect, I'm not sure that there was much discussion with my publisher, but one thing we did discuss during revisions was having some symbols for different groups in the story, because through a good part of the story evil is sort of amorphous, and since there are multiple groups vying for the city, it made sense to give the reader some visual clues. I think it was great editorial advice, and added to the story, my mind I was picturing a more gender-neutral cover, perhaps using some of those symbols, so I was surprised when I got the cover, initially.

"I thought it was beautiful, but I wasn't sure about it. First, it didn't seem like it would appeal to male readers much, and though even the first draft was wonderfully atmospheric, and there are scenes in the marshes, the book is essentially about saving a city, so the setting of the cover threw me at first. Also, the color and style of the font changed later, into something really beautiful and special, but in the first draft, they weren't as striking, so I liked it, but I wasn't in love!

"We made some suggestions, but none of them worked. I suggested that the parasol be more tattered, and we suggested some sort of city outline in the background (and I'm going to agree that might not have looked good, particularly if it was worked in later) but I do like tattered things! But no, they had purchased the beautiful artwork for the cover, and I don't think it could be manipulated very much.

"In some ways I would say the final cover was unchanged from the first version I saw, but in fact the final hardcover is very different. The font color changed, and the font itself improved dramatically, and is really just beautiful. And the effects that were added, first the glowing depth that the ARC had, and then they left that and put embossed foil on the cover, and added in deckled pages...I am really pleased with everything about the book and the cover!

"I may not have been in love the first time I saw it, but now that the book is on my shelf, I'm definitely in love! I think the cover is very representative of how dark the book is, and that even aspects that I questioned at first, the parasol for instance, helps the reader see immediately that the book has a historical setting, the misty background is mysterious, and the red dress suggest glamour, all of which are a bit part of the book. I think the feel of it is just right, and the color, well, it's Masque of the Red Death! I know there are other books with red dresses (I own quite a few of them!) but red was the absolute right color for the dress on this cover.

"Oh, and another cool cover related thing that Greenwillow did was that instead of a trailer, they created an interactive book cover for the book. (Be sure to click for lightning and scroll over parts for creepy vines).

Um, that is my favorite thing in the world. An interactive book cover! What do you guys think?