Cover Stories: Putting Makeup on Dead People

Hi, look at that cover. The title alone intrigued me enough to want to red Jen Violi's debut, but that cover? I love it! Jen's here to share the Cover Story:

"I did indeed have my own cover idea, and revealing that will also reveal why I’m a writer and not a designer.

"So, when I was little, my parents had quite a record collection, and I loved listening to so many of them, from The King and I soundtrack to Vicki Carr or Frank Sinatra or, my absolute favorite: Aunt Carmela’s Italian Favorites. So many gems on there, my favorites from Lou Monte. And the cover, priceless. Which of course I have to show you here. Please note the fabulousness of Aunt Carmela, right.

"Believe it or not, as I was writing Putting Makeup on Dead People, I had a distinct vision for the cover to feature Aunt Carmela. As an enlivened corpse. Basically, my vision involved Aunt Carmela, sitting much like she is on the chaise lounge on the album cover, but instead, on a coroner’s metal slab, with a white sheet draped over her body, sitting up and grinning out at us. Why, one might wonder, would I think that was a good idea?

"Well, I have a great love for old Italian music, so there’s that. Also, I thought it would be hilarious. For me, Putting Makeup on Dead People is as much about the joy as the pain, about finding humor in unexpected or perhaps inappropriate places. And last, but not least, that album always makes me smile and calls up fun childhood memories of singing with my dad, to whom the book is dedicated.

"All of that, of course, is really personal to me, but I think that what great book covers do is welcome others into the story.  So although Aunt Carmela amuses me, I think she might perplex or even perhaps alarm a potential reader, which falls into the not so welcoming category.

"When I saw the real cover, I thought it was gorgeous. I'm pretty sure I cried. I thought it looked like springtime—so, so pretty. I tend to be more of a red and turquoise kind of girl and probably never would have picked pink as a focal color, but I’m so glad Tanya Ross-Hughes did and so grateful for her work. This is Donna’s (the main character in PMODP) cover, truly, and it has been the same since the beginning. I think Tanya knocked it out of the park right away, and since the book came out, many readers have told me how much they love that cover.

"I feel like it’s a breath of spring, that first breath you can get after a long winter, when the air is just a little warmer, but still cold enough that it’s a little bracing. There’s something cool about those lips, the icy pink, but also something promising warmth with the unfurling lilies. Putting Makeup on Dead People is all about finding new life after a long time of darkness and cold and quiet. It’s also about a young woman blossoming into herself, the beauty that can be present in death, and life and death as intricately linked, and I think the cover reflects all of that exquisitely."

YES! That last paragraph puts my own thoughts into words more eloquent than I could muster. What do you guys think?