Cover Stories: NARC by Crissa-Jean Chappell

Crissa-Jean Chappell's cover for the newly released Narc made me look twice, spin it around and then around again. I don't do that with many covers. It's got that extra something. Here she is to talk about it:

"There’s always that moment when you hit 'save' and step away from the computer. And then it hits you. This collection of scattered files has grown into a book-length manuscript. Of course, you’re daydreaming about the cover. I tried to picture something that would catch the attention of older teens (and because my protagonist is male, I hoped it would appeal to guys, too). I have to give a shout out to the cover designer, Lisa Novak, for her beautiful work.

"I was thrilled when my editor at Flux asked me for suggestions (in the publishing world, this isn’t always the case). I sent pictures of book covers and movie posters that shared the themes of mystery and 'going undercover.'

"When the email popped on my cell phone, I was driving to work (I waited until I could pull over to check it out. And that’s a good thing because I was so emotional, I almost bounced off the roof). It’s a big deal, looking at the cover for the first time. That’s when everything starts to feel real.

"My editor, Brian Farrey-Latz, sent two covers—the one we picked and a second, more traditional cover with a boy’s face. Although I loved both, I felt it was important to avoid showing too much of the main character’s appearance. For one thing, readers often prefer to imagine the characters on their own. And the conflict in NARC revolves around dual identities. So the doubling effect on the cover is perfect for Aaron, the boy who believes that everybody at school wears a mask….including himself.

"The lonely swings are so perfect. It’s like he’s waiting for someone to sit next to him. The playground is like a symbol of leaving childhood behind… but you’re not quite ready for the responsibilities of being a grown up. Aaron is forced into taking on a very grown up job (working for the police). At the same time, he is not out of high school yet. He wants to go to parties and meet girls. In other words, he wants be liked. But it isn’t easy when you’re pretending to be something that you’re not."

Thanks, Crissa! I've seen swings (one example with a Cover Story is Jessica Warman's Between), but this one has the loneliest feel of all, and the double image requires some contemplation, I think--in a very good way.

What do you guys think of this cover?

Check out the trailer here: