Monday, June 1, 2009

On The Outside: Sarah Rees Brennan

Sarah Rees Brennan is the debut author of The Demon's Lexicon, which is releasing tomorrow! You can visit her at her really awesome website here.


My US and UK publishers were deeply cool about involving me in the whole cover-making process, despite the fact that I have all the artistic ability of a duck and had very little in the way of guidance to offer them.

There was a photo shoot for my US cover, and when they sent me a picture of the model they had chosen for my hero Nick, I sent back an email that said he wasn't quite what I'd pictured: instantly they offered an alternative model, who I thought was wonderful, and which I thought was wonderful of them. Not only that, but they asked me to draw Nick's talisman, the necklace he wears to ward off demons. As I have the aforesaid ability of a duck I panicked and then asked an excellent young artist I know ca
lled Laura Connolly to draw it, and the talisman on the cover is modeled very closely on Laura's drawing.

My US publisher also noticed that I had a ton of descriptions of different skies, and they mingled sunset, sunrise and strange lightning to make what I think is a wonderfully eye catching background for the cover. The funny thing is, I'd never even noticed I had a lot of sky descriptions! Even more brilliantly, when underneath the cover the hardback would usually be plain, this hardback has a wraparound cover of my hero's sword, thus giving me two different covers in the US - one for those who like iconic covers and one for those who like people on their covers. I find it really hard to choose between them!

My UK co
ver was drawn by the fantastic Sam Hadley, who also drew the Fratellis album cover. My UK publisher chose him and sent me samples of different ideas of covers: we both agreed we liked the look of the shattered window of the title and the London background best. My hero on the cover used to look very different, though: I kept adjusting his features, gave him a nose job - not to mention shaving him! I must have been a real pain, but I love how it turned out.

My foreign covers, on the other hand, have all been surprises to me: ready for public consumption by the time I saw them, but they were done so thoughtfully and beautifully that I ended up loving them, too!

For instance, my Finnish cover was a demon's eye modeled on the eye I drew for my web designer, and which is the background for my home page. It was redrawn and given eerie glowing light and licks of fire, and made very much its own thing.

My German cover is iconic like my Finnish cover, showing a silhouette ringed in fire against a silver foil background. It's bright and simple and I think looks the most like an action movie poster: it reflects all the adventures with swords and guns and demons' circles I had fun writing and hoped people would have fun reading.

It's really hard for me to choose a favorite cover, but my Japanese cover might be up there. Like my UK cover, it's drawn, and in this case my Japanese publisher chose a famous manga artist, Hiromu Arakawa, best known for Fullmetal Alchemist. It was an amazing choice, and I felt honored not just because of her talent but because of how excellent the choice was: Fullmetal Alchemist is also about brothers united against the world and having magical adventures, so it fitted in really well, and best of all this cover had most of the important characters on it, characters I never dreamed I'd see on any cover: not just Nick but his brother Alan, my pink-haired heroine Mae and her brother Jamie, the demons and the villains.

Perhaps my favorite part about seeing all these covers was seeing how different people saw my book: swords or strange skies, action and adventure, the horror of demon's eyes or the gritty noir feel of the city landscape behind shattered glass. You try to put so many different things in a book, and it's so fantastic to see that people saw so many of them.

I feel really lucky to have received six amazing covers: I can only hope the book does them justice!


Thanks so much Sarah!

1 comment:

Good? Bad? Ugly? I don't care as long as you tell me!

(P.S. You might have to double click.)