Cover Stories: Sophie's Mixed-Up Magic Series

Amanda Ashby has been here before with the GCC to share stories about her covers, and she's back today with the story behind the Sophie's Mixed-Up Magic covers, her first middle grade series. "I’ve been lucky with my covers and I’ve loved them all, but without a doubt the covers for my Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic series are my favorite! And I’m not just saying that because they are my first covers to have a head (though heads are cool!) but it’s rather because as soon as I saw them, I just knew that the girl on the cover 'was' Sophie!!!! From her straight blonde hair, her expressions through to the clothes that she was wearing, it was all the Sophie of my mind!

"Sometimes I get asked if I have any thoughts on the cover, but this time I wasn’t and I hadn’t even realized that there was even a shoot until after it was all over. Anyway, I immediately emailed my editor to tell her how thrilled I was. She told me that the girl who had played Sophie was an absolute delight and had totally embraced the shoot. She also told me that the art director was Jeanine Henderson who also did the covers for two of my other books, Zombie Queen of Newbury High [read that Cover Story] and Fairy Bad Day [read that Cover Story]. I love Jeanine’s covers so I was thrilled to discover that she had worked on the Sophie books as well and I immediately asked my editor to pass on my thanks and let her know how much I loved the covers (that's book 2 on the right).

"Then a few weeks later I got an email from the girl on the cover of the books. She was so lovely and I swear she is even more excited about the books coming out than I am! It was nice to get the chance to tell her how brilliant I thought she was and as soon as I got my arcs for book one, I sent her a copy (not all arcs have the real cover on them, but these did and I knew she would want to see it!)

"Anyway, a few months later I got a Google alert and I stumbled onto Jeanine’s blog, where she was talking about my Sophie covers!

"The post was about how she had been commissioned to do some hand drawn covers and that even though everyone had loved them, in the end it had been decided to do a photo shoot for the covers (which Jeanine was the art director for it).  I’ve attached two of the original covers (below, books 1 and 3 have an illustrated comparison) and I love that her hand lettering was used in the final version!

"As for any surprises, I actually only received my author copies last week and while I had seen an arc for book one, I had never seen one for book two, so it wasn’t until last week that I realized that the ring Sophie is wearing on the cover IS the djinn ring I described in the book (an apple shaped rhinestone ring. Because obviously if you are going to have a djinn ring, it should be pretty and sparkly and shaped like an apple!!)."

Thanks, Amanda! I think the photo versions are great for Middle Grade, and I like the photo shoot versions--so glad the model looks like Sophie!

What do you guys think?