Each component of this cover is a component of the story. Who doesn’t know about the horror of WWII, the beaches of Normandy, the Nazis? We are all familiar with these things. This is why I chose the symbol of the Swastika. I had to be careful about how I represented it however. This is one of those symbols that can unintentionally convey the wrong message. My goal was to convey a time in history.
I didn’t want the traditional red, black and white version of the swastika we have all seen and recognize, it would have been too “in your face.” So I came up with the idea of using the grey scale photograph that not only speaks of a certain time period but of the war itself, so no accidentally mistaking this for anything but a WWII period story. Oh, by the way…that is an actual photograph from the hedgerows in France. If I find I require a photograph for a cover, I do my best to be accurate about it. I guess you could say it’s one of the few ways I am a tad bit OCD.
When I first showed the draft of my initial concept (basically a quick concept where I throw pieces together so I remember what I wanted to do) I believe the publisher thought I was just a bit off my rocker, perhaps one of the legs of my rocker had even broken and I was about to fall off of it totally. It was very very dramatic at first. Think, big red and black swastika, black rosary beads, no photograph at that point, no white background. Thinking back, I can completely understand her thinking “you want to do what?!” and responding to my e-mails with “uh huh, oooook then.” Fortunately, she trusted my process and let me run with the concept.
So where do the rosary beads come in? Simple, her name is Mary. Mary, in this story, is much more than she appears to be. The gradient in the rosary beads is symbolic of a transformation she makes from one thing to another (without spoiling anything for you, you just have to read the book.)
The blood splatter what does it symbolize? Well, I could be pithy and say it represents the death of a character early on…and it could but in reality, it’s just there for balance and drama. So, fine not everything is symbolic…but it could be if you chose to view it that way.
The colors I chose also help to convey the drama I was looking for. They are simple but pack a punch.
In retrospect I would have simply done the authors name at the bottom without the drop shadow effect, so that will probably change at some point.
That’s it, that’s how this cover came to be. Any thoughts?