I regularly get comments and questions about my book covers. I’ve been asked to explain the “symbolism” of the artwork, while some want to know who did them. Of course, there are those who only want to compliment the artwork. I am always honored when people take such an interest.
Each cover is different, and I love both of them! To me, they are as much a part of the book as the story. When we were designing them, I kept in mind the old saying “Don’t judge a book by the cover.” Well, I wanted the cover to not only get a person’s attention and draw them in, I wanted it to help tell the story.
Though I’m not an artist or designer, I was actively involved in the creation of both book covers. I summarized the story, and gave input on what “message” I wanted communicated. I had a wonderful graphic designer who helped me to translate my stories into the visuals that now grace the covers. She is amazing! (I have agreed not to publicly post her name on the Internet, but she’s mentioned in the front of the books.)
Here’s a brief explanation of each of the covers:
Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind
At the center of the picture is a surfer boy, representing Peter, the central character in the story. He is moving toward a stained-glass window, which is the direction or calling in his life. The window is actually a depiction of the creation story in Genesis, which is appropriate for the new beginning in Peter’s life. But the circular image also connotes the “whirlwind” he’ll encounter in his new venture—change, conflict and controversy. And in the background is the sailboat, which in the book is an ongoing metaphor of the heart that’s open to the guidance and direction of “The Wind.”
The Mind Set on the Flesh
This is the story of Thumper, who has survived a beating that left him with little memory of his past and the strict, Fundamentalist’s upbringing imposed by his father, a famous televangelist.
In the cover art, we see a lone man staring into a broken mirror, reminding us that his life was shattered by the brutal attack. We can’t see his face; that is the point where the image is shattered. Embedded in the broken mirror we can see a stained-glass window. Of course, that’s the religious upbringing he’s been trying to escape and the rigid dogma which seeks to exert pressure on his life after the attack. And it’s also the catalyst that led to the attack. (On a personal note, when I first saw the artwork for this book, I was moved to tears. It is so stunning, and I felt it captured so much of the tone and topic of the book.)
Side note: In one of the earlier versions, we saw less of the man’s body, which is obviously naked. (I didn’t want to be too graphic.) But one of my editors, a sweet Baptist lady from Tennessee, felt we should show more “flesh.” She told me to remember the title of my book and the theme of my story. So, we revealed a bit more..."flesh." I know now that she was right!
A stained-glass theme?
I was asked once if it was a coincidence that both my book covers include an image of a stained-glass window. And no, it was not an accident. Each story deals with the powerful influence and impact of religion—both good and bad. So I wanted that concept depicted in the cover art. (As I say over and over, they are not religious books, but books are religious people.)
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.