September 29, 2013

Inside Secret-Designing Goodbye Lie's Cover

A Goodbye Lie Favorite*
    Jane Marie:  When I'm at book signings, I often point out the meaning behind the cover of The Goodbye Lie.  I spent a long while deciding how I wanted the cover to look.  It had to be in good taste, of course.  I wanted it to be intriguing, to suggest what the story might be about, but didn't want to give too much away.  Where would the fun be in that?
I knew I wanted sand as a backdrop since the Dunnigan family lives on Amelia Island off the coast of Florida, and the beach and Atlantic Ocean play a significant part in the story.  It would have been ideal to lay out my design on the actual beach, but I didn't want things to blow away or get covered with a dusting of sand, so I asked my husband, Bruce, to tote a pail of sand from the beach to our house.  I found a 3'x4' rectangle of plywood in the garage, laid it in the courtyard inside our wall so no one would see what I was doing, covered the wood with the sand and went to work. 
Leaving room for a title in large enough letters to be read in an online bookstore cover photo, I thought about the elements of the book. I used flowers from my garden for color - roses, sweet alyssum, pansies and hibiscus.   But how would I represent a man and a woman?  What did they have in common?  Gloves, among other things!  I chose a long formal glove that was actually worn by my daughter, Barbra, at her wedding.  I asked a former Marine if he had a dress glove he could loan me to use as a soldier's glove.  He did. I put the man's glove over the woman's.  Was he protecting her?  Was she trying to get away from him?
I added the pewter jewel “coffin” as the Victorians called it.  It had been our mother's, and I've had it for years filled with religious medals and rosaries.  Since a medallion is mentioned in The Goodbye Lie, I put that in the pewter box.
I also wanted a ribbon to weave around and through the picture to represent the meandering story line.  I had the ends of the ribbon running off the edge of the picture to show there was no beginning or end to the story really, that a sequel or even a prequel might happen. 
After taking a dozen shots, I went to work on the covers for Velvet Undertow, Mark of a Man and A Thing Most Necessary (now entitled Sand and Sin), the rest of the books in The Goodbye Lie series, so far.  They all have the same sand, flowers and ribbon, but the main objects in the middle are different to represent a different story.  I was pleased with the results.  And apparently the cover for The Goodbye Lie passed muster because my toughest and best critic and editor, Nancy [Kamp] went with it.  Whew!      
    Bonnie:  They taught me in art class in college that true art speaks to the beholder.  It may speak differently to each person, but if it speaks, it is art.
The ribbon - I was thinking along the lines of ... she let it fall from her dress in a carefree moment, lost in both thought and contentment.  I can picture her [Breelan] walking hand-in-hand with Waite in the moonlight.   Barefoot, of course.  She's dreamily walking with her eyes closed because she is so happy and serene, and doesn't want the moment or the magic of it to end.  As she slowly walks, she unties her ribbon, plays with it a bit, and it loosely falls from her fingers without notice or care that it has dropped.  Her dress has in that instant gone from formal to romantically casual and flowing. ... Oh man ... am I a hopeless romantic, or what?
[The shorter glove]could easily be a man's formal dress glove.  That's what I thought.  The gloves are one of the first things they shed when they reached that beach, and without meaning to, they dropped them one on top of the other in a gesture of everlasting oneness.
I hadn't quite figured out the jewel coffin, but the flowers were from the wedding [in the story], and of course they were symbolic too.  Perhaps the jewel symbolized the treasure they had both finally uncovered together (their admitted love for each other).
(Reprinted from