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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!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cover Stories: Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

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Last summer, Aimee Friedman shared the Cover Story behind her achingly lovely Sea Change cover, and as the holiday season makes us cold, I had to warm us with this summer-love image:

"I got the idea for Sea Change one summer when I was riding the ferry to Governor's Island--a small, little-known island right off the coast of lower Manhattan. As I was standing on the deck and looking into the deep blue, mysterious depths of the water, I remembered how much I had always loved mermaid stories--everything from the movie Splash to the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Then I took it one step further, and wondered: what if the gender roles were reversed? What if it was a human girl, falling in love with a boy who came from the sea? My heart fluttered at this notion, and when I got home that evening, I sat down in front of my laptop and, well, dove in.

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"So, right away, before Sea Change even had a title, I envisioned the cover as being very sea-like in nature. I had the color blue in mind, of course (it has always been my favorite color), and I liked the idea of showing a girl underwater. It's funny, because even though I never learned to swim (call it the curse of being a city child), I am very happy when in water. Plunk me in the shallow end of a pool and I can bob there for hours, like a sea horse (see left).

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"I wanted the cover to capture this feeling of freedom and peace I--and the main character Miranda--feel in the water. For a long time, as I was writing, I pictured this amazing shot the photographer Annie Liebowitz took of Kate Winslet right after Titanic came out.

"I knew we couldn't use Kate on the cover (as much as I love her!), but I was drawn to that kind of mermaid-like look.

"And then I found The Photo.

"At this point, I should probably explain my somewhat unique situation as an author. In addition to writing, I work full-time as a book editor, a job I absolutely love (although I wouldn't recommend juggling two full-time jobs to people who DON'T already have insomnia). One day, I was searching for an image for ANOTHER cover--for a book I was editing. Typically the design department is in charge of searching for stock photos on sites like Corbis and Getty, but we'd been having so much trouble with this particular cover, that I volunteered to pitch in. I was browsing through various images when my eye landed on this one:

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"It was love at first sight. To me, the couple looked as if they were underwater, and the composition was so dreamy and romantic that it captured the mood I was creating in the book. I immediately sent the photo to my editor and she said, 'YES!'

"And so the Sea Change cover was born. It's usually never that smooth a process to get a cover just right--there's usually a lot of back and forth and several different attempts. But even the designer took one look at the photo and instantly knew how to crop it, and how to flow in the perfect kind of type. Somehow, in a way miraculous as mermaids, all the elements that make up the cover of Sea Change just came together, fluid as water. I couldn't be more grateful."

Ooh, great story! And yes, the final cover is just divine--love the swirlies around it, too (swirlies is not an official term, but you know what I mean). I can't believe Aimee just stumbled upon the photo. What do you guys think?


3 comments:

Charlotte (The Book on the Hill) said...

I love the photo of Kate Winslet ! It would indeed make a great cover. As for the Sea Change cover, I think a photo of someone under water would've been perfect, but the final one is nice. I won't say I adore it, but it is a beautiful photo. Yay for cover stories (I know, I say it every time, but I REALLY love this feature !).

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Me, too, Charlotte!

This cover is exceptional to me.

MissAttitude said...

What a gorgeous cover! It defintely draws the eye to it and they look they're under water :)