Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Face of the Story

I take book cover design with the utmost seriousness. It gives a face to my story, and must express it faithfully, in graphical terms. In my mind, when you take my book into your arms, you must be rewarded by holding a work of art. This reward starts with the cover, which opens the door--literally and figuratively--and sweeps you, page after page, into a different world. It continues with an appealing layout of the interior pages, and culminates with the story. 


Here, the back cover is a natural extension of the front cover, which gives you the illusion that the image clings to the spine, wrapping itself around the book, hugging it. On the front cover, in a layer just below the title and author name, you can see layers and layers of red fabric, in which the main character finds herself tangled more and more, losing herself in a knot of passion. Then, when you turn the book and look at the back cover, you can see the ends of two of the strips of fabric, falling away from you, disappearing gradually into the mist of distance. The text blurb describing the story appears in the foreground, over that mist.

This text blurb was contributed by Jeremy Joe Kronsberg, the legendary screen writer, director and producer, who is often amused at being referred to as 'the godfather of the modern ape chase movie'. He wrote the screenplays for 'Every Which Way But Loose', 'Any Which Way You Can' (with Clint Eastwood in the title role), and 'Going Ape' (with Tony Danza in the title role.) In addition, he wrote lyrics to numerous songs, for example 'Feels So Good to Win" (for the movie Coast to Coast), "Sassafras Sundays" for Homebodies, and "Your Guess Is Just As Good As Mine" (for The Outfit.) So I am truly honored that he agreed to grace the back cover of my book, Apart From Love, with his words. Having read the story, and having reflected at length on its meaning, he said, with his usual eloquence:

"A fascinating study of three voices who lead us through the tangle of their lives
and challenge us through their wounded communications to re-examine how we connect."

I was reminded of this sentence, just the other day. Towards the end of my radio interview with Cyrus Webb, the host of Conversation LIVE Radio, he asked a very insightful question: 'What do you think the readers will take away, other than an enjoyable story?" 

I replied, "We need to give an allowance to the other side, to see things in a different way. We may want to see things from their point of view. Which is exactly the reason why there are two points of view in this story; so that we can see the same events from Ben's point of view, and from Anita's point of view, and appreciate the distance, the contrast between the two. The reader here is kind of a god, you know: floating from above, understanding both sides."

In
deed, now I can see how my answer dovetails Kronsberg's words, here on the back cover. And I smile, finding myself glad that he used the word 'tangle'--even though at the time, he had not seen the cover image, with its twists and turns of red fabric going every which way.

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Volume I: My Own Voice
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Volume II: The White Piano
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Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
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PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
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"A feast for the armchair psychologist"

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