terra elan mcvoy

Cover Stories: Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

Cover w TaglineTerra Elan McVoy will be teaching with me at Smith College this summer (yay!) and she's back with a brand new book and a cover that somehow is both very in keeping with her past covers and also very different. Here she is to tell the tale: "I know I'm like a broken record at this point, but the case of Criminal's cover, as with all of my other books (save the paperback edition of Pure), I didn't have much to say when it came to the design, other than, 'BAM! This is awesome!'

"Since Criminal is in so many ways a very different book for me though (edgier and darker, with a much less confident protagonist), I was curious how the design team would work to set this book apart from the beautiful sweetness of the others, and yet keep it in line enough so that they would all look good together. I knew I didn't want anything that too strongly focused on the violence of the book (a gun, for example, or handcuffs or jail), though I did wonder about utilizing police CRIME SCENE tape or something like that.

"What makes the final cover so perfect to me, is that it is definitely different from the others (all black, notably different font), but it also blends with them. Like the rest (below), there's the title, and my name, a solid background, and one stand-out visual that makes it pop. (In this case, the golden bullet.) Even though there is a hint of the violence on the cover, it feels perfect because it is so simple, and so symbolic. That the bullet is tearing through the title, shattering it into little bits, is perfect not just because it looks cool, but because this violent act of Dee's completely shatters Nikki's life.

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"I will admit that when I saw that the cover was completely black, I did have a moment of, 'Oh no! How is this going to stand out now?' since my friends have had fun sending photos of Pure, especially, popping out on the shelf amidst a field of darkly-covered YA titles. I think the end result is so perfect and gorgeous, however, that I'll be able to handle it. All in all, I'm very pleased with the whole jacket, and I hope it entices readers to pick it up and read what's inside!"

Thanks, Terra! I really love your covers and the way that one symbol stands in as the full design. (See Terra's past Cover Stories for Being Friends With Boys, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, After the Kiss and Pure.)

What do you guys think?

Cover Stories: Being Friends With Boys

Terra Elan McVoy has been here before to share her adorable covers for Pure and After the Kiss (read those Cover Stories), and now she's got a new book out just in time for summer: Being Friends With Boys. How great is that title? Here's more about the cover, from Terra: "I never have any idea about my covers; I’m so lucky to have been assigned to such smart, clever, amazing people at Simon Pulse to work on them. This team does such an incredible job, and I figure it’s best to leave that work in their capable hands!

"Admittedly, my very first thought when I saw the cover was, 'But there aren’t any coffeehouses in the book! They never drink coffee!' Very quickly though, I realized that was a pretty lame and limiting response.

"My editor was incredibly patient with me and let me just sit on my first reaction until I came to my senses and realized this was perfect.

"The cover did change, in one important way. Originally, the background was red (right), which I loved – though I wondered about it fitting in with the colors of the other books. After some back-and-forth though, it was determined that red might be a little too Valentine-y, and the background color got switched to this incredible, deep navy blue that it is now.

"In the end, it’s not so much how I feel about the cover that stands out –though I totally love it and it just screams 'Charlotte,' to me in every way -- but more how other people feel about it. I feel like I’ve been blessed with these incredible covers for my backlist, but so many people are commenting on this one, saying it’s their favorite of all. There’s just something highly attractive and perfect about it, which means a lot to me, again, because it just has this very 'Charlotte' kind of feel: homey and comfortable, but also really sharp and alluring."

Thanks, Terra! It's an incredibly clean cover and I'm a huge fan of that simple aesthetic. I love both the red and the blue--maybe paperback will be red, released around V-Day 2013? In any case, I can't wait to read it!

Cover Stories: The Summer of Firsts and Lasts

Terra Elan McVoy is back with a new release that has a cover that's just as colorful and summery as her previous ones. Yay! Here she is with the Cover Story:

"I try never to think about my covers when I’m writing, mainly because I’m a writer, not a professional marketing person, and I know that these kinds of things are usually best left in the hands of people whose job it is to be good at this! I just hoped (and knew) that it would tie in well with the covers of Pure and After the Kiss [read those Cover Stories here] that everyone (including me) loves so much!

"I do remember having a conversation with my editor about the cover when the initial planning stages were going on. I was thinking there had to be some sort of yummy thing that involved three in some way. I was brainstorming--because The Summer of Firsts and Lasts is about camp—maybe a s’more? There’s marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker: three ingredients, so I thought that might work. But it turns out there are some other books with s’mores on them and we wanted to go a different route. As soon as I saw ice cream I was like: Perfect!

"I swear, when I saw the design I just thought, 'I am so lucky.' The color was a surprise, because I think I was maybe picturing something green (like summer trees), but I just ADORE the hot pink. I wouldn’t have thought of it, and I love it. It pops so much and the three flavors of ice cream... perfect!

"We had to do a whole separate photo shoot for the ice cream, because the original images they were using just didn’t look real enough when they put them together. I have to say that I LOVE picturing an ice cream photo shoot just for my book, right?

"Ultimately, I just feel so lucky that there are such amazing, creative people in the Art Department at Simon Pulse. I think the attention to detail—making all my book covers tie together—is really incredible and just works so well. I love the simplicity of the ice cream cone in this book—it is so perfectly summer. And of course there are three flavors to represent the three different girls. I’m not sure though which flavor stands for which sister. I think the green is maybe Violet, but then I can’t decide whether it’s Calla or Daisy who is the strawberry. So maybe Daisy is the green? But then it depends on whether it’s mint or pistachio... I’m still not sure!"

Thanks, Terra! How pretty do her covers look together, above? They are like a collage of summer itself. Also, I love the idea of an ice cream photo shoot and ice cream flavors/colors as character representations. Delicious.

What do you guys think?

Cover Stories: Pure and After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy

pure-hardcover.jpgTerra Elan McVoy has some of the best covers I've seen, and I had to ask her to stop by and share some stories. Here goes: "Honestly, I had no idea about my covers. I am a writer, not a graphic designer or marketing specialist. So I decided to worry about what was going in between the covers, and to let the amazing geniuses at Simon Pulse do their magic. It seems to have worked out pretty well so far!

"When I saw the mock-up of the hardcover for Pure (left), the first thing I thought was,'Gah!' and then 'Gorgeous!' Really, I couldn't believe how smart and pretty and amazing it was, and I loved that Cara Petrus (the designer) put in the details of the five rings along the spine. Everything was just so deliciously perfect--almost TOO perfect. I laughed, too, because I lead a book group for middle school girls, and anytime they see a book with a pink cover, they're like 'Ooooh I want to read that,' no matter what it is. So, mainly, I just thought how incredibly lucky I was. It was the same for the cover of After the Kiss. I hadn't really thought about the cover at all, and then I saw it and I was like, 'Yes, absolutely. Beautiful.'

"I'm sure my editor would have taken suggestions, but basically all I could do was drool on myself in every case.

purepaperback.jpg"I will say that while I LOVED the hardcover version of Pure, when my editor told me they were going to change the cover for the paperback, I did offer up some input. I worked at a children's bookstore at the time, and also had friends who had middle school aged girls; I had heard here and there that some people thought the cherry on the cover was a little too mature, especially considering that the content of the book was more about friendship. So I brought that up to my editor, and then she and Cara came back with the yellow version with the daisy on the cover. And I love it so much, because, as Meg Ryan says in You've Got Mail, daisies are such friendly flowers, and this is just subtle and perfect and wonderful. So, now I am doubly blessed, because I have got this gorgeous, glammy pink hardcover (that got nominated as one of the best covers of the year in a New York Times contest), and this delicious, sunshine-y paperback cover, too.

"I know that the hardcover of Pure was done with a model. The paperback I'm not so certain about, and I don't know about After the Kiss, either, though I do like to picture a photo shoot involving hundreds of Sweethearts candies.

afterthekiss.jpg"It's fun, with After the Kiss, to try to read the messages on the hearts and see if there's a prominent one that has special meaning, but I haven't quite managed to find one yet, really. I keep thinking there may be a secret message in there. And for the hardcover of Pure, I just dig that there isn't anything hidden about the message at all. If you get it, you get it, and if you don't it's still pretty."

Thanks, Terra! Pretty is exactly the word I'd use to describe the coves of Terra's books -- all of them! What do you guys think?