Cover Stories: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

whereibelong.jpgThe cover for Gwendolyn Heasley's Where I Belong (out this month) made me think of about a million things I love: Texas cowboys, green-gold fields, Louboutins... it's pretty genius. I had to ask her how it came to be: "I wrote the book somewhat on a whim, and I never (initially) expected it to be published. After the book's sale, I definitely thought about the cover and I figured that there was a good chance it would be a photograph since that's very popular in YA right now.

"It's funny though because none of my favorite YA books growing up ever had photographic images as covers.... Sometimes, I love to reimagine what those covers would have looked like if they were photos.

"The publisher (HarperCollins) was extremely nice about listening to input. They asked for it after the first initial image (which was just a mock-up) of a girl standing on a cobblestone street. This version reflected the NYC Corrinne, but the story primarily takes place in Texas.

"I really wanted a truck on the cover since trucks (especially one named Billie Jean the Second) are important characters in my novel. I wanted the cover to be more country. My editor, agent and I had many conversations about the cover before they actually went to shoot it. I am so happy with HarperCollins for including me in the talks before images were actually shot.

whereibelong.jpg"When I saw the final photograph from the shoot (shown again, right, just for fun), I was incredibly excited. Not only did the art department take careful note of how I described Corrinne, but they also even got her clothes right! The purse and dress are not only Corrinne-like, but they are actually based on what she wore in the book.. down the designers! The purse is Marc Jacobs and the shoes are the famous, red heeled (very expensive) Christian Louboutins And I love how you can see elements of her face, but there's still some mystery to what she looks like! And the boy is very country cute, which is dead on. What girl doesn't like a cowboy!

"My editor worked hard to get me my dream cover. And my agent, Leigh Feldman, worked extremely, extremely hard to get me my dream cover as well. She was a true cheerleader for and champion of my vision. But she's like that all the time, so it didn't surprise me.

"They shot several scenes at the photo shoot including one with a truck. In the end, this image best reflected the novel, and I am absolutely thrilled with it. And I am also incredibly pleased that the reader reaction to it has been extremely strong. I am very happy the final version reflects the city girl in the country. And I like the fact that there's a romantic angle to the cover because the novel is both about finding out who you are and who you should be with.

"The cover was shot for just my book! I can't thank HarperCollins enough for putting that time and money into making the cover look great! And the models wherever they are! I hope to run into them someday in some weird twist of fate.

"I think the cover reflects the fish out of water story that's the cornerstone of WHERE I BELONG. And the grass background (which extends to the back cover) is very vibrant and unique. And I love the hay because Corrinne is a rider and works at a stable, so it alludes to that.

"Beyond that, I think the body language between the two models is very intense and gives the reader/viewer a peek into a very private moment. We all have (or will have -- I promise) amazing, tiny moments in our lives where something clicks -- sometimes it's a personal moment, and sometimes it's a moment with someone else. And I think my cover is a still frame from one of those moments that changes your life. So in five words, I am a huge fan."

Thanks, Gwendolyn! I love this cover. How about you guys?

Here's the trailer, in case you need more incentive to check this one out: