Here are the Valentines that Q made for the kids in her class (okay, I did the lettering part):
So very much fun. She can’t wait to head to school tomorrow and pass them out to “all her friends.”
Having a kid makes Valentine’s Day so much more fun — SB and I don’t do anything for the holiday, but now that Q is in school we get to have fun with red and pink pens and heart-shaped stickers. Sparkly heart shaped stickers — is there anything better?
Q and I can testify: the answer is NO.
Valentine the second: I’m so excited that today is the day the Beautiful Creatures movie is coming out. I cannot wait to see Ethan and Lena on the big screen!
And of course, the reason you’re all really here. Let us discuss my beautiful, early Valentine — my brand new cover.
Oh you lovely, lovely, blue starry thing. Oh you perfect, pale-haired Persis. And the stars. And the waves. And the dress.
Star-Swept is my ninth book, and my favorite cover. I love how beautifully it ties into and reflects the design on For Darkness Shows the Stars, while clearly reflecting a story and character of its own.
And I love, love all the choices made for the model of Persis. She looks like Persis, guys — she really, really looks like Persis. She looks so much like Persis that I took to staring at this photo during one round of revisions, communing with her character that way.
When an author writes a book, she has hopes for what the cover will look like — and this is very much like what I pictures when I first conceived of Star-Swept. That never happens, guys. Trust me on that one. And the story behind the making of the cover was such a remarkable feat of serendipity — the photographer knew the perfect model, a teenaged daughter of a friend, and lived next door to a wig maker who could put together that hair… we never thought we could get all those elements together, never thought that if we did it would look good to someone who didn’t know anything about the story, which of course is what a cover is designed to do. For all that you hear readers complain about how such-and-such element is not exactly as described in the book, you have to remember, that a book cover is not designed for people who have read the book. It’s designed to intrigue people who happen to walk by it in a bookstore or see it online. Ballgown and crazy yellow/white dreadlocks? Not two elements people are expecting to see together.
And yet they did it. And it’s AWESOME.
Finally, the obligatory word about race, and the evergreen topic of its depiction on covers. The reason this picture is a photo shoot, is because apparently it’s really, really hard to find stock photos of girls of South east Asian or Pacific Islander descent wearing ballgowns (or even blue jeans). You want ones of them wearing bikinis (or grass skirts, which whole ‘nother conversation)? No problem. And that’s a real problem.
Star-Swept is a book about disguises, about surfaces, about how the way a person looks make you cast judgment on them before they ever open their mouths. As such, Persis (and her wardrobe) are described often and in minute detail, because the way she looks is central to the storyline in a way that makes her different from any other character I’ve ever written (with the possible exception of Astrid post-transformation).
I’m really lucky that my publisher was able to do a photo shoot for this particular book. Other publishers, other authors, other books are not that lucky. And while I’ve always thought of the cover of For Darkness as being a bit metaphorical (stars shining through her blue starry skin, galaxies shimmering through her dress), the cover of Star Swept is actually pretty literal, based on actual scenes, outfits, and settings in the book.
Which might be why it’s my favorite.
So, yeah, I’m madly in love with this cover. I think it does everything a cover is supposed to do (i.e., draw the reader who knows nothing about the book into its prettiness) and more, too, because actual readers of the book can see a pretty accurate illustration of what they’ve read.
Of course, there will be the complaints from those who think the cover is too girly, and doesn’t draw in male readers, though the book is all spy capery with techy gadgets and genetically engineered animals and sexy girls and other things boys love, and apparently, frocks and girls on covers just cootie that whole thing up and make boys incapable of reading it. Which is too bad. And maybe we should ask ourselves why a cover depicting futuristic tech and spycraft doesn’t preclude girly frockaliciousness, but the opposite is true.
Because, actually, that’s what my book is about. It’s about the fact that no one would ever, ever think Persis was a genius badass spy, because she does her hair and cares about fashion and, most terrible and damning of all, she is a girl.