Cover Stories + Win-It Wednesday: Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Last week's winner of Natalie Standiford's Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters is... Priya! Send me your address, P.bloodthirstyfinal.jpgFlynn Meaney is here to talk about the cover of Bloodthirsty (out next week!), and how difficult it is to create an original vampire novel look these days. I love the idea of a guy faking vampire-dom to get girls -- hilarious, right? -- and Little, Brown is offering a chance for you to win the book (just comment to enter). Take it away, Flynn! 'I didn't even think about the cover of Bloodthirsty, my debut YA novel, until the first version was emailed to me. I was still in a state of disbelief that my book, which tells the story of high school outcast named Finbar Frame who pretends to be a vampire to get some action, was really being published. There I was, four months out of college, being paid to do something I loved, be creative, reach out to geeky teens like the one I was, and--most importantly--sleep until noon. I was so damned grateful, I would have agreed to any cover. "Except.... The first cover they sent me. My email from Little, Brown contained a photograph of a giant Slurpee. No vampire, no nerdy boy, not a drop of blood. Um, what? "As my editor explained in her email, the publishers thought a Slurpee was emblematic of suburbia. My protagonist, Finbar, lives in suburban Westchester, New York, also where I grew up. Now this may be snobby, but, hey, I'm from Westchester, so it fits--we are not a Slurpee suburb. We are more of a Frappuccino suburb. Plus, my hero Finbar isn't much into junk food--whether it comes from 7-Eleven or Starbucks. In fact, he's a super scrawny dude. "This cover wasn't going to work for me. "But I wasn't going to push my luck--after all, I had a major publisher paying me a couple thousand Frappuccinos to write books. I had my dream career. If that career came with a giant Slurpee, so be it. "Then fate, and a fat vampire, stepped in. My agent, Dan Lazar, found a similar book, Fat Vampire by Adam Rex, which had a Slurpee on the cover. [Remember the Cover Story for that one? --MW] And a Slurpee is definitely more appropriate for a fat vampire than for my undersized Finbar. Phew. I was safe. "Unfortunately, we found that not only the Slurpee, but lots of other ideas were already taken. There are so many vampire-related stories out there that we couldn't touch blood, pale dudes, or--my suggestion--plastic vampire teeth, the type you wear for Halloween. bloodthirstyaustralia.jpeg"Apparently designing a book cover is easier down under, because the Australian edition of my book features a pale dude with plastic vampire teeth (right). As much as I like the look of the Australian Bloodthirsty, that edition has a Finbar on it, and I wanted American readers to imagine their own Finbars as they read. "Because so many vampire objects were taken, and the publisher and I agreed to stay away from a drawing or photo of Finbar, the art people at Little, Brown moved towards a more abstract design. That's how we got to the American cover of bloodthirsty--a cheeky smiley-face heart with decidedly non-menacing fangs. "To me, the cover represents people's initial impressions of Bloodthirsty. It's 'just another vampire book,' with a black and red color scheme like the Twilight series. But then you notice that my book isn't pouting a la Kristen Stewart--it's grinning at you. I also think the fanged heart will grab the attention of bookstore browsers, who will have to look twice to figure out what they're looking at. "My hope is that the cover--and the book--will appeal to both those who love vampire love stories, and those who mock them mercilessly." Thanks, Flynn! Such a fun and interesting Cover Story, right? What do you guys think? Commenters will have a shot at winning a copy of Bloodthirsty (US addresses only, sorry). Weigh in!