Monday, June 8, 2009

On The Outside: Lisa Ann Sandell

Lisa Ann Sandell is the author of Song of the Sparrow and her newest book, A Map of the Known World, which was released in April. You can visit Lisa at her website here.


As I wrote A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD, I had no idea what this book might look like. With the title, I of course had a map in mind, but I wasn't sure what that map would look like. I didn't want to give too much away right up front, so I really struggled with this.

Fortunately for me, Elizabeth B. Parisi, the art director who designed both A MAP OF THE KNOWN WORLD and my previous book, SONG OF THE SPARROW, is a genius, and she really got this book. She came up with the idea of using the heart/sculpture as a central image. Elizabeth also thought of layering it on top of a map. If you look closely at the cover, you can see that in the black background are gridlines of a map.

As soon as she told my editor, the brilliant Aimee Friedman (also a phenomenal author), and me what she was thinking, we were both super excited. Elizabeth showed us photos of the work of a sculptor she knew, Leo Sewell ( He calls himself a junk sculptor, and if you visit his web site, you can see that he sculpts these phenomenal pieces out of found objects. So, Elizabeth had seen one of his sculptures, the Big Apple (seen here: and was inspired to use it as the basis for the heart. She photographed the apple, then had artist Tim O'Brien paint a new piece, using the apple as a guide, in the shape of a heart.

This process couldn't have been smoother or more delightful. Basically, as soon as she was finished reading the manuscript, Elizabeth had the idea, and Aimee and I were totally on board with it. And in the end, I can't think of a single image that would better capture the spirit of Cora's story, and I couldn't be more grateful for how beautiful or perfect this cover is.


Thanks so much Lisa!

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