Holly Cupala‘s debut novel, Tell Me a Secret, is out this week! Hooray! I’ve been thinking about this book since I first saw what I’ve come to call “The whisper cover.”
Here’s Holly with the back story:
“I don’t think I had a cover in mind as I was writing, though I did have a clear picture of what the characters looked like–especially the bad-girl older sister, Xanda, and what her younger sister might look like. And of course, the love interest (Kamran, a.k.a. the super hot sci-fi guy). So when my editor asked if I had any ideas in mind, I sent a bunch of pictures!
“I originally envisioned Miranda to have blond hair, but I think I took the hair color refs out so that any girl could imagine herself in Rand’s shoes. I thought of her as having a kind of mysterious, haunted look–did you ever see The Virgin Suicides? I always thought of the palette of my book as having that kind of aesthetic, kind of “good girl gone bad” in dreamy, washed-out tones (left).
“Kamran is Persian with green eyes, very cute, of course! Something like this (right), but without the suit. (My editor said, ‘Wow. I didn’t picture him like that before, but I will now!’)
“Then I made this picture myself (below, right) with borrowed images from a labyrinth artist on the web (unfortunately I can’t find it now or I would link) and a girl shot from the UO catalogue to capture the tone of the novel – a girl on a journey, and labyrinths play a big metaphorical role.
“It took us a while to figure out the title of the book–it truly came at the 11th hour, about two days before we HAD to get something nailed down.
They couldn’t work on a cover concept until we had the title finalized. Once we hit on TELL ME A SECRET (thank you, subconscious dream state!), they turned a cover concept around in something like 24 hours! And it was amazing! My family was visiting, including my 15 year-old niece Molly who had glued herself to the couch the day before and had read the manuscript in one sitting, and I opened the jpeg and GASPED! ‘Quick, everybody, come see this!’ Everyone charged into the office for one big collective gasp! Molly said it was perfect, which I took as an excellent sign.
“The picture was perfect–captured the tone, the darkness and light, and most importantly, it’s hot! I was working on the final copyedit at the time they sent it, so I snuck in some details (note the red T-shirt) to a certain scene to capture the moment. It was cool to be able to do that.
“The one piece of input I had was that the title type wasn’t quite right for the story. So in the second incarnation, they changed the type and added the amazing quote from Ellen Hopkins, who now has a lifetime subscription to my undying gratitude and chocolate cupcakes any time she wants! So here’s the final, which I LOVE. I feel like I won the cover lottery. (Thank you, awesome design team!)
“And thank you, Melissa, for inviting me to do a Cover Story!”
Thanks, Holly! There is so much fun stuff going on for this book:
* The virtual tour is EVERYWHERE. Here’s the schedule (leave comments on each post for a chance to win prizes.)
* The virtual book birthday party happens tomorrow, Tuesday, at Holly’s blog. I’m already ready to be there, see?
* Little Willow had authors tell her their secrets, and she’s revealing one each day this month… I may be in the mix, possibly… check it out!