Call me a process geek… I love hearing the stories behind books. What sparked the idea…how many times the point-of-view changed in revisions…which characters got left on the cutting room floor. Titles and covers, too… so I thought it would be fun to share the cover for my new Walker/Bloomsbury novel along with the story of how it came to be.
My first two novels, THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. and SUGAR AND ICE were similar kinds of books, and they look somewhat alike in terms of cover design.
Artist Joe Cepeda created the paintings for both covers. I love them and feel like they reflect the stories inside perfectly.
But this new book is different from my first two. EYE OF THE STORM is a dystopian thriller with tornadoes and weather manipulation. My editor and the team at Walker/Bloomsbury knew it needed to have a different look. Back in December, my editor sent me an email with a link to the online portfolio of Vincent Chong, a talented illustrator who lives in the U.K. and asked if I felt like this was the right look/feel for EYE OF THE STORM. I looked through the art samples…
…and knew right away this was a perfect cover artist for the new book. I wrote back to editor Mary Kate to let her know, and I sent her a link to one piece in particular…
I told her how much I loved the colors and the energy of this piece, the way it was dark and bright at the same time, and that I thought something with a similar mood would be great.
Happily, Vincent was interested in the job, and sketches were emailed back and forth for a couple months. Details were added to fit the near-future setting and make the characters more true to their descriptions in the book. Fast-forward to this week…when the final cover arrived in my in-box!
And here’s the story-blurb to go with it.
In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms are a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her father in the special StormSafe community his company has developed, Jaden Meggs is excited to reconnect with her dad after he spent years researching storm technology in Russia. She’ll also be attending the exclusive summer science camp, Eye On Tomorrow, that her dad founded. There, Jaden meets Alex, a boy whose passion for science matches hers, and together they discover a horrible truth about her dad’s research that is putting countless lives at risk. As a massive tornado approaches, threatening to destroy everything in its path, Jaden is torn between loyalty to her dad and revealing his secret. Can she find the courage to confront her dad and save everyone from the biggest storm yet?
Coming in March 2012 (and I can’t wait!)
I’m especially excited for this book because while I hope it will still appeal to kids who love my other books, it has more action than either of my first two titles, and that could bring in a whole new world of readers. Truth be told…whenever I worked on this book, I thought about Patrick, a Vermont boy who read Gianna Z. with his class and wrote me a lovely note thanking me for visiting his school and explaining very kindly why he didn’t like my book. Patrick, it turns out, likes books with a lot more action. It wasn’t personal…it just wasn’t his kind of book. The letter – you can read it here – is one of my all-time favorite pieces of reader mail because it’s such a lovely, sweet reminder that all books are not for all people, and that’s okay.
But not long after I got that letter, I started playing around with new ideas for a new story…something a little different. With action and adventure…and tornadoes. And you know what? I found out that I really love writing that kind of book, too.
So thanks, Patrick.
This one’s for you.