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readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cover Stories: Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart

Jessica Burkhart's debut novel, Take the Reins, is book one in the Canterwood Crest series, and she shared the fun cover story on my blog last week. Now, we're sharing it with readergirlz!

Here's Jess:

FINAL%20TTR%20cvr.JPG "When I wrote TTR in November 2006, I was so focused on the writing that I didn't even think about potential covers. It was the first book I'd ever written, so writing was enough for me to think about. :)

"Fast forward through finishing the draft, finding an agent and getting a publisher.

"In the spring of 2008, I heard there would be a casting call for models and a photo shoot. I thought that was FANTASTIC and I couldn't wait to see the photos. Then, Editor K offered me an invitation to come to the shoot. There was jumping and screaming involved. (I was screaming--not Editor K. But maybe she was after getting e-mails and phone calls from me in my insanely excitable state.) I'm surprised the neighbors didn't come over to see if everything was okay. That was weeks before the shoot, so you'd think I would have calmed down when the actual day arrived.

"Um, no. There was no sleeping the night before the shoot. I spent most of the night staring at the red numbers on the clock and watching bad infomercials. (FYI infomercial hosts--screaming into the camera won't convince me to buy your product!)

"I felt as if I was in shock during the entire photo shoot. It was the weirdest sensation to meet my 'characters' and chat with the models--the faces of Canterwood Crest. The first four covers were shot on the same day and talented photographer and fellow equestrian Monica Stevenson shot the covers. Thanks to her and everyone else, it was a day I'll never forget!

"The first time I saw the cover for TtR, I was sitting on my living room couch when I saw an e-mail pop up from my editor. I knew it was the cover and my hands were shaking so much I could barely click the link. Before I could, my phone rang and it was Editor K telling me she'd just e-mailed me the cover. I told her I was opening it up at that second and she stayed on the phone with me while I opened the link. I can't even remember half of what I said to her, but I do remember thinking...

"So. Gorgeous. Wow. I'm a real author!

"Editor K cheered with me and I could barely speak.

"I looked at it a million times over the day and little things I didn't notice before kept popping out at me. Like the brilliant colors, the gleam in Sasha's eye, the gold swirls off the Canterwood Crest logo--all tiny elements that pulled the cover together. All of those embellishments were designed by cover goddess Jessica Sonkin Handelman. I do think she's quite brilliant...

"Editor K and Agent A made the best decision, which was to let me see the final cover and not the drafts. I'm glad because it kept me from getting attached to a draft only to have it changed later. The final product is the only cover I've seen and it's the image I'll always have.

"My cover has everything TtR is about--the bond between a girl and her horse, competition among friends and the pressures of being a new girl. The cover for Take the Reins is better than I ever could have imagined and when I look at it in its frame on my wall, it makes me feel so lucky to have a team of people behind me who care about Canterwood Crest as much as I do!"

I think it's really cool that they shot so many covers in one day--talk about foresight! What do you guys think of the covers?

And here are three more covers in the series, still to come:

chasing_blue_twlb.jpgbehind_the_bit_cover.jpgtriple_fault_low_res_fk8q.jpg

Take the Reins is in stores and on library shelves now.


5 comments:

Taren said...

I think the covers are gorgeous -and way classier than a lot of things I've seen lately.

Micol Ostow said...

I remember reading about this book deal and thinking what a GREAT idea for a series it is! EditorK is a good friend and I know she and Jessica have had a fabulous time on this collaboration. Can't wait to read!

Little Willow said...

Great covers! I love it when they invest in a photo shoot to ensure that the entire series (or series so far) matches.

Jessica Burkhart said...

Thanks for posting this, Melissa! :)

Polo.Pony said...

I adore this cover! I think that it really shows the beauty and love between horse and rider. And the other covers that were shown are also great!!