Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cover Art Interview: Cheryl Renee Herbsman and the cover of BREATHING

Once again, I am going to put in my two cents about the cover of BREATHING, a book by Cheryl Renee Herbsman. I love the cover, because I love how soft it is. The fact that you can't see the faces of the characters makes it seem more real. I am excited to hold this book in my hands, because I think it is going to be a wonderful average girl story. I don't kind around when I say they first thing I notice about a authors myspace/website is whether I can see the covers of their books easily…because I go off the covers – they peak my interest. Cheryl's cover drew me in and instantly I wanted to be there, in that tree. I wanted to be that girl. I hope you all enjoy this cover story, I know I was excited to read it!

1. How did the cover of BREATHING come to be?

My editor (the fabulous Joy Peskin) told me there was a lot of excitement about Breathing in the department. They had some great ideas for the cover, so I was excited to see what they had in mind. The designer, Annette Fiore, was the one who chose the photo. When I received the first draft I couldn't get over how beautiful it was and I loved the way the image captured the feeling of the story.

2. Were you a part of the decisions about the cover of BREATHING?

Once they presented the initial draft to me, I was able to give feedback and make changes. There were a handful of changes I requested and they made almost all of them. For example, the young woman in the photo had a tattoo on her back, which I had them remove, because Savannah's mom would NEVER allow that. Also, the model was extremely thin. Her spine was poking out and her body was quite narrow. I asked them to add a little bulk to her body. I think Savannah is just such a regular kid. And I didn't want to pass on the message that it's average to be severely thin. There's so much in the media that hypes ultra-thin bodies and I didn't want to be a part of that.

The biggest change we made was in the background. There were originally cliffs instead of sand dunes, so it didn't look at all like the Carolina coast. We went back and forth on options for that part of the photo quite a few times. In the end, I sent them some photos of sand dunes with vegetation growing out of them and basically said, "Something like this." And then they got it just right. I am extremely grateful that they were so incredibly responsive to my requests.

3. Is the final cover what you had in mind for BREATHING?

I think I initially envisioned a couple on the beach. There's a photo of me and my husband as teenagers on the back jacket flap of the book. We're standing on the sand looking at each other. So I think I was imagining something along those lines. But I love the feeling of the two of them up in the tree. It gives the sense that it's the two of them against the world or something.

4. Is there anything you would want to change about the cover of BREATHING?

The only thing I would change is the guy's pants. I can't see Jackson ever wearing pants like that.

5. Are you happy with the final product?

Absolutely completely in love with it. I think it's beautiful and inviting and intriguing and wonderful. And I feel so grateful to have been given such a gorgeous cover!


Mrs. Magoo said...

That's an interesting idea, to interview authors about the cover of their novel! :)

Melissa Walker said...

Love that she had them bulk up the character on the cover--that was really smart! Too-thin sends the wrong message, especially when the character is a normal girl. Good for Cheryl!

Book Fanatic 101 said...

Oh LOVED how she got to edit the first cover. Cheryl's book looks really good!