kristen tracy

Cover Stories: Crimes of the Sarahs by Kristen Tracy*

sarahscover.jpgKristen Tracy is a fun person with a totally great Cover Story for one of her many books, Crimes of the Sarahs. Here goes:"I wasn't sure about a cover image. I LOVED my first cover for Lost It (right). In it, my main character loses her virginity underneath an unseaworthy canoe, and the cover attempted to capture a literal depiction of this--sloppily patched canoe with both boy and girl legs poking out suggestively. lost_it.jpgFor Crimes of the Sarahs, I wasn't sure how to depict a group of four girl criminals. "At some point my editor asked me if I had any cover image ideas, and the only thing I could think of was a group of girls with their heads stuffed inside nylons, possibly robbing something. But my editor had actually stuffed her head inside a nylon once in high school with a friend and they'd taken pictures of this and she assured me that it doesn't look so hot, especially not for a book cover. usualsuspects.jpg"I really liked the cover right away. They'd told me it was going to be inspired by the movie poster for Usual Suspects and I thought that sounded pretty cool. I remember they sent me pictures of the models and asked me what I thought. I really liked them. And I even forwarded some of the photos to a friend of mine at work to see what he thought and he wrote me back right away and told me that if I was going to send him pictures of 14-year-olds wearing bikinis that I needed to put that in the subject line so he didn't open them at work. I thought he made a good point. I don't know why some of them were wearing bikinis. No crimes were committed in my book by bikini-clad teens. I'm certain. "My editor wanted me to be happy. And I thought the cover was wonderful, so I was happy. We were all happy. I think even the models were happy. Though I am wildly projecting when I say that, because I have no first-hand knowledge of any of the models' emotional states. "The only limitations I placed on the designers were the physical descriptions of the four girl criminals in my book. Sarah A (the ringleader) was blonde. Sarah B wore a Detroit Tiger's ball cap and chewed a lot of gum. Sarah C was a redhead, and not particularly fashion-forward. Sarah T (the narrator) had brown hair. The art department and my editors used my character descriptions to build a very accurate cover of my girl criminals. Even their heights are correct. "We used models--gorgeous girly ones with attitude and obscene amounts of teen hair and four sets of handcuffs. (To be honest, it was sort of like looking at four different versions of my high-school self, except not at all.)sarahc.jpg "The cover didn't really change. They nailed it. And we all cheered. "I find hidden meaning all the time. But I can't say that I've found any in the cover of Crimes of the Sarahs. The one image that feels loaded with symbolic meaning that I've been unable to unpack is the tank top worn by Sarah C (right). It has three fish on it. Two are headed in one direction and one is headed in the other. What's going on with that third fish? Does it know something? Is it fighting with the other two? I know it has a story. I know it's not just a random image of three fish. That third fish is up to something. . . but what? It's a mystery--a big, wet, swimmy one. sarahb.jpg"At the website there are a ton of model shots that we culled through to pick the cover. The models look so adorable in the handcuffs (like Sarah B., left). I don't understand all the different scenes they shot, but they made me laugh. The models make the funniest faces. And change clothes. It was so fun to watch my story come to life and watch these four girls interpret my characters. It was a great experience. And my web designer Little Willow did an amazing job building the Sarahs' website." Thanks, Kristen! I love this story and all the outtakes with the models (you guys should definitely click through to see them all.) I love that each character is truly represented on this cover--we all know that sometimes doesn't happen--and it has a really fun vibe. What do you guys think? *Pre-posted: I'm in Spain!