When I saw the cover for Alexa Martin’s Girl Wonder, I whispered to myself, “Superhero hair.” I always wanted superhero hair, always envied girls who had the courage to have it. Instant enchantment.
Here’s Alexa with how the cover came to be:
“When my book was first acquired by Disney Hyperion it was called Ski Season. Back then, I definitely had a strong notion of what I wanted the cover to look like. For my birthday that year a friend had given me a card by the artist Nikki Mclure. The image on front was of an old-timey looking ski scene.
“‘That’s my book,’ I thought. ‘Yup.’
“Though I have misplaced the card and can’t find the image anywhere online, here is a link to Nikki Mclure’s portfolio.
“I know, right? She’s an amazing artist and illustrator and also lives in the Pacific Northwest, like my main character, Charlotte—and also like me!
“But after I edited out all of the skiing from my book (which is another story all together… kind of a scary story but thankfully one with a happy ending) Ski Season was re-titled Girl Wonder.
“My editor and I brainstormed some possible cover ideas, and I sent her a list of twenty of my all time favorite YA covers, including How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff, The Dead Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan, and Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (see all below). I’m a huge believer in the power of a great cover. In spite of knowing better, I too am guilty of judging a book by it’s cover (at least before I read it).
“So yeah, I cared. I cared a lot.
“It had to be fabulous. Eye catching. And it had to do the story justice.
“I was at a complete loss.
“In Girl Wonder, my main character Charlotte moves to a new town and is befriended by Amanda Munger. Amanda is glamorous, sexy, bold, and carefree. She is also brilliant, rich, and has a long history with Neal Fitzpatrick, Charlotte’s secret crush. Amanda has everything Charlotte thinks she wants. And she also has hot pink hair.
“‘It was like her hair was a reflection of some inner radiance,’ Charlotte tells us the first time she sees Amanda sashaying down the schools halls like she owns the place.
“Four days before I was to have neck surgery related to a rock climbing fall (another story for another time) Hyperion sent me four possible images of what they were thinking for the cover. They were all amazing but by far and away I loved the first one best. It was perfect. It was my cover. I had to have it!
“Here’s what I wrote to my editor about that image:
“’It’s so sophisticated and wild and fun and jazzy and makes you want the pizazz that the girl with the hair possesses… just as Charlotte wants to BE Amanda. My favorite for sure! From an artistic standpoint, I think the image is the one that you’d remember years and years down the road… or want to frame in a swanky apartment.’”
“I forwarded the image to my agent (who was as instantly smitten with it as I was) and told her that I loved my cover so much I wanted to sleep with it under my pillow!
“Thoughts of my cover helped distract me in the hours before my surgery. Imagining how my cover would look on the shelves at bookstores helped me to forget about the pain after surgery. It gave me an endorphin rush… or something like that!
“As my May 3rd publication date drew closer and closer I grew jittery. I want people to love my book and my character. There’s so much about the publication process that’s beyond the author’s control.
“There’s one thing I’m not worried about, however. My cover. It kicks ass!
“Thank you Kevin Madsen and Marci Senders and the rest of the Disney Hyperion design team. You’re way high up on my gratitude list!”