I feel so lame for not having read my copy of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone yet. I mean, I've only been hearing the buzz about Stephanie Kuehnert's debut novel since 2007! And Venus Zine, one of my very favorite publications, says, "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is a manifesto for defiant high school girls, as well as a refresher course for the goddesses they turn into." How cool does that sound?! Plus, that cover is just plain amazing!!Luckily, Stephanie is still talking to me. In fact, she's even sharing her cover story. And here it is: "I didn't have a cover idea right away, but my agent did. As soon as she read the book, she thought of the album cover for 'Goo' by Sonic Youth. She wanted a cover like that. It was one reason why I knew she was the perfect agent for me. "My publisher didn't ask for input, but I gave it to them anyway. I sent them the 'Goo' album cover for my agent (above left) and then I love looking at live photos of musicians and I had two favorites that reminded me of Emily in a way. One is this gorgeous shot of PJ Harvey in front of a festival crowd that looks so triumphant and powerful (above center). Another is a black and white Charles Peterson photo of Kurt Cobain (above right). Charles Peterson takes the most amazing band shots in the world, in my opinion. He really just captures all the emotions of a musical performance as a black-and-white still somehow. I was thinking of his photography when I wrote one of my minor characters, Ian, a rock photographer. Anyway, the picture of Kurt, I think, gives the sense that there is so much going on with him on the inside that he is letting out on stage. And that was totally Emily. So I sent those three things as suggestions and also something about a sticker on a guitar or a black-and-white photo being tucked into guitar strings as my ideas. But I have no idea if they passed any of that on to the designer. I was huge on the black-and-white thing though and the cover did end up using a black-and-white photo, but somehow I doubt that had anything to do with me. "I can't even begin to tell you how antsy I was about seeing my cover. I was sooooo nervous. And it didn't help that every time I talked to my editor and asked about when I'd see it, she told me, 'Oh, it wasn't quite right, so we just sent it back...' This made me nervous, mostly because I thought, if they are working on it this hard and then I totally hate it, they aren't going to be willing to change it. I even asked if I could see the ones they'd decided against so that if the end result was awful, I could say, 'But I really did like this one...' But my editor was insistent that I just see the final. One day I came home from work and there it was in my email box. I was nervous and giddy at the same time to open the attachment. And when I saw it, my jaw just dropped. I nearly cried out of joy. "It captures the feel of the book perfectly. The combat boots and the little swatch of lace at the top of her tights are the perfect metaphor for my main character Emily, a tough punk girl with a secret vulnerable streak. Not to mention I had those boots at 16. They are still in my closet right now. And I would have totally bought a book with that cover at 16 in an instant and I wrote the book for the 16-year-old girls like me, so perfect. Oh and the guitar picks! I'd been planning on promo guitar picks, so that was just perfect too. I got the guitar picks tattooed on my arm. I want to get the photo on the cover framed. That's how much I truly love it. "I didn't see the original versions of the cover until two weeks ago (shown above, and you can see them in larger form here). And I like them but none of them are as good as the final. I probably like the one with the amp best. The close-up on the girl who is supposed to be Emily is okay, but she's not true to Emily because Emily's hair is black, not dark brown. I see Emily's hair very specifically in my mind because it is the color of my mother's hair before it grayed, so I would have been super picky about that. I still like my cover best. I mean that cover just is the book. I can't picture it any other way at this point. And I just can't wait to see what they do with my next one... "I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on the alternate IWBYJR covers. Which do you like best? Do you like any better than the final?" Well go on, answer Stephanie's questions. One commenter will be chosen at random to win a signed cover flat of the final cover from Stephanie herself. Very cool. And thanks for reading. Great cover story, Stephanie!