Monday, January 2, 2012

On The Outside: Eileen Cook (It Returns!)

On The Outside is an exclusive feature where authors guest blog about how their novels got their cover and/or title.

I'm starting this up, every Monday from now on as long as I can get authors to participate! I love doing OTO and reading the stories and I hope everyone will be glad to see it back!

Thank you very very much to my first author to participate in the new year, Eileen Cook!

Eileen Cook's new novel, Unraveling Isobel, is released tomorrow, January 3rd.

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother. 
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. 
Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
 Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your blog! When I finished this book I was certain I knew what should be on the cover.  I pictured a creepy gothic house perched on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean.  I’d been imagining the house in the book for so long I could imagine it perfectly.  I’d even drawn floor plans when writing the book.  Of course the problem with having this type of clear vision, it’s really hard to find something in the real world that matches.

I’m incredibly lucky to work with the team at Simon Pulse. They always invite me to participate in the cover design process. They talk to me not only about what I imagine the cover looking at, but also the feeling I want the cover to impart. My cover designer, Cara Petrus, wanted to make sure that the cover had some of the creepy gothic feel, but also wasn’t too dark, as the book has humor too.  Cara picked up on Isobel’s interest in art and also her feeling of being trapped. The concept of her hands being held by her own artwork was perfect. Part of what Isobel struggles with in the book is that she isn’t sure if she is seeing ghosts, if she’s going crazy, or if someone is trying to get rid of her by having everyone believe she’s crazy. For me the cover hints at all of this.

I have to admit that I am vile at coming up with good titles.  I called this book “the gothic” the entire time I wrote it because I knew it would take me awhile to land on the right thing. I’ve worked as a counselor and am interested in mental health issues. I think one of the most difficult things about having mental illnesses is that you can’t trust your own perception of reality. How do you cope when you aren’t sure what you see and hear is real?  As things become more confusing for the main character Isobel, her world, and ability to be confident of what she sees unravels. While discussing this with my divine editor, Anica Rissi, we realized that was the title right there- Unraveling Isobel.

Thanks again for having me.  Happy Reading!
Thank you very much Eileen! I can't wait to read Unraveling Isobel! :)

If any author would like to participate in On The Outside, please feel free to email me and I can send you all the details.


  1. That's such an interesting way of looking at it. i see a similar thing with some of my relatives as they age. As their memories go, they get more tentative because they can't trust their own thought process. it's heartbreaking.


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