Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard: Cover Interview

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard - Cover Interview

How much input did you have on the cover?

I was very lucky that I had a fair say in what I wanted in a cover. The publisher, of course, had the final say but I liked that I was able to express my own creative direction in terms of what I envisioned with the cover designer. I was also incredibly lucky to be able to work with an extremely talented designer, Alan Pranke, who took my vision and translated it into what I consider to be a work of art. The final product was perfect, capturing everything that I wanted the cover to convey. I have to say that when I first saw it, I cried, it was that beautiful to me.

I think the cover is beautiful - does it convey what you want it to about the book?

Absolutely. I wanted a cover that communicated a sense of strength with underlying fragility, one that portrayed a feeling of fierceness but also of wistfulness. I think Alan did a wonderful job with all the details and the feel of the cover. He has a great eye for drama. His intense graphic art on the title together with the softness of the portrait-like background and the whimsical nature of the girl just blended together perfectly to create that juxtaposition that I was looking for – the combination of the fierce and the fragile. It’s edgy but delicate at the same time. There’s also a masquerade ball in the book, so I loved that this was present in the cover especially since that’s a pivotal moment in the novel. Add in the spectacular work on
the spine and the lettering on the back cover, and I couldn’t be happier with how it all came together.

So much is going on with the cover but it doesn't seem overcrowded, what would you say your
favorite element of the cover is?

My absolute favorite element of the cover is the journal writing. Victoria’s dark secrets are revealed in a mysterious journal she receives from her grandmother, and I adore how the faded snippets of handwritten text are used in the background of the main images. Plus, there’s a number in there, just between the title and my name—1835—and that’s the year Christian was turned as a vampire! Believe it or not, that number was totally random … I call that fate.

If you could change one thing about the cover what would it be?

Honestly, I wouldn’t change the cover at all. To me, it’s perfect as is. But maybe I’d add a fantastic quote from an awesome review! I always love when I see those kinds of quotes on books on the front cover – “Brilliant!” by Famous Author Name. Of course, that’s just my ego talking! Ha!

What is one thing you are glad is not on the cover of Bloodspell?

I’m glad that there is no blood on the cover. It would have been way too clichéd and obvious to have blood on there. I mean the title is Bloodspell after all, and a huge element in the novel is Victoria’s powerful blood, but I like that it wasn’t an “in-your-face” thing. The way it is now, where the title incorporates that element in a very tasteful manner, in terms of its color and the actual art of the lettering, is perfect. If you look very closely, you will see that it almost looks like it is blood with the slight splatter effect along the edges, but it isn’t that obvious, which again, has the right amount of suggestion.

Do you pick up books just because of their covers?

Absolutely! I mean, who doesn’t? It’s like the most awesome first impression of a book that you get! If a book cover is just gorgeous, I will totally pick it up in the store, and immediately read the back to see if it’s something I will enjoy. If they cover is so stunning and evocative that I don’t care what’s on the back, I will probably end up getting it. I’m a very visual person like that.  Anything beautiful or striking will win me over. I like artistic covers, I like minimalist covers, I like modern covers … I like anything that makes me feel something. And I especially like covers that spin a story already, one that whets my appetite for what’s inside!

Your favorite cover of all time?

One of my favorite covers of all time is a very old Oxford edition of His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle (published in 1917), which has a very Eclipse-esque type cover. It’s incredibly dramatic, with white script text on the front and a swatch of vivid red art in the middle of the black back cover.

Another of my all-time favorites is the original A Clockwork Orange book cover byAnthony Burgess because it’s so conceptually striking and modernistic with the face and the single fringed eye. I actually own a copy of this book with that cover!


On the more artsy side, one of my more recent favorite covers is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson because it’s so evocative … it’s beautiful and broken at the same time. I feel very moved by this cover for some reason, as if the girl is stuck on the outside looking in or is forever outside of herself. The colors and icy feel of it also heighten the sense of remoteness and deep sadness. It’s a very poignant cover, and the artistry of it is beautiful.


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