Friday, January 21, 2011

Cover Story

Here's a look at the final version of the cover for my upcoming short story collection, Moonlight Sketches. The beautiful artwork comes from the mind and the pen of St. John's artist Darren Whalen, who was an absolute dream to work with. These stories are connected in that they all take place in the same small town, called Darwin, and I wanted a cover that captured the darker side of smalltown Newfoundland. The collection has a dark sense of humour, of course, and I thought the cover should insinuate a blend of dark and light, while making the association with the title at the same time. Darren's idea was that the moon should be present but not too prominent, and I agreed. It was his vision that, not only should the moon cast a glow upon the streets of this midnight town, but that it should spread light upon the entire page--which keeps the cover from being too dark. After all, you need to be able to see the title and the name of the author, as well as various highlighted areas of Darwin. The task was a difficult one, or so I thought, but Darren pulled it off brilliantly. (For the full wraparound cover, you can scroll further down.) Oh, and the solitary figure ambling down the road in the dead of night? The pièce de résistance.
Below is the full cover, including flaps,designed by Darren Whalen. Here, you get the full view of Darwin in all its rich, dark glory. There are landmarks in the sketch that mean a lot to me, as someone who has been writing about Darwin for a lot of years. I look at it and I see the places where certain characters' stories occur. I see Winnie and Francis' house overlooking the bay, the school that Benny and Dave break into and find themselves in a heap of trouble, the streets where a soldier's funeral parade brings an entire town to a standstill, and the community's only bar (Jack's Place) where several characters go for solace and a drink, but often find more. And, of course, there's that ubiquitous moon of many faces, peering down on them all like a benevolent, curious, and yet distant god. The characters often act as if no one is watching, and yet, for as alone as they are in this little cove, off the known path, there is always the sense that their stories are taking place on a larger stage, beneath the same moon as you and me, wherever we are. Somehow, Darren Whalen's artwork captures all of these textures and nuances, and so much more. The cover truly is a work of art.
(Click on the cover for a larger view.)

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