Since my previous post touched on the subject of my book covers, I’d like to share the latest. It was a challenge, at first, to imagine how to bring it to life. The solution was so amazingly simple that I’m still surprised that it took me so long to see it. At the outset, I knew that I wanted an empty, old-timey picture frame hanging on a weathered-looking wall. Where could I find a suitably run-down structure, how could I gain entry and who would let me hammer nails into their historic property? The answer, as I perused different places on my computer, was literally right in front of me.
I do all of my writing at this old table. I don’t remember exactly where I got it but we’ve been together for twenty years (my ex-wife, an antique dealer, may have picked it up at an auction; regardless, I got custody of it in our divorce). At any rate, the way that my palms tend to stick to the finish while I’m typing has always bothered me. You lift your hands on a hot day and there’s a shredding sound where the furniture stain and your sweat have adhered together. Wait a minute, I said to myself as I had an epiphany concerning the discoloration of the wood: wasn’t it precisely the sort of surface that I needed? What’s more, if I were to set the picture frame on a horizontal plane, it wouldn’t require any hardware to hang and try to hide in the final picture. A photo shoot resulted.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the camera high enough on the tripod to achieve a wide enough vantage. I unbolted the legs from the table and wrestled the top to the floor (no easy task given its weight — the thing is a monster). The greater distance below the lens was sufficient to capture it all. The frame was donated, after being robbed of its artwork, from elsewhere in the house. I had described it, in the novel, as a reproduction so I wasn’t worried about its authenticity. The newer gold, I thought, played well against the darker background, anyway. After I had tinkered with the image in Photoshop, tweaked the format and created a print-ready file, I sent off for the proof.
Here’s the finished product. I’m thrilled with it. The table on which I wrote is honored with a starring role. It reinforces the message of a book where everyday objects are like characters. Few viewers, however, will identify it as a desk. Wherever the frame is in reality, people, I think, are likely to assume that it’s on a wall. The band across the title reads “Not for Resale” because the novel has yet to be published. I don’t know how or when it will happen. I only hope that my cover survives the process.