rgz

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!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cover Stories: Swoon by Nina Malkin

Thumbnail image for swoon.jpg
Nina Malkin's Swoon has a gorgeous cover. She shared her story with me earlier this year, and here's a peek for readergirlz:

"'Love at first sight must be glorious...'

"I'm quoting the first line of my novel SWOON, and in answer to narrator Candice 'Dice' Moskow's musing, am here to say, 'Yeah, it is.'

"Like ten years ago, I first laid eyes on the tall, bespectacled, floppy-haired boy in the corridor of a magazine where I worked. In that moment, I flashed: 'Mine!' Turns out he had come interviewing for a job, which he got. Soon thereafter, he got me--as a friend, then as a girlfriend, now as a wife.

"Something similar happened last spring when I received an email subjected 'SWOON cover comp.' I clicked on the JPEG attached and flashed: 'This is $%#^@!ing hot!' A first. SWOON is my fifth book, but the only one with a cover I truly love. Imagine my dismay, for instance, when sent the results of the pricey photo shoot my previous publisher did (without my knowledge, much less input) for my debut novel 6X: The Uncensored Confessions. This is a book about a rock band. Why, then, a cover subject tarted up like a Vegas hooker? Did I squawk? Damn skippy. To no avail. Who was I, fledging author, to tell a big publishing company its business.

"SWOON, different story.

"Considering my previous experience, I sweated the cover of SWOON. Now I was with perhaps the biggest publishing company of all--surely they wouldn't deign to consult me. Plus, with SWOON's fairly complicated premise and plot, a design no-brainer it was not.
imgswoon068.jpg

"Fortunately, I had an appreciation for covers Cara Petrus, the creative genius assigned to SWOON, had done for other books. Still, she had her work cut out for her. I, for one, was challenged to conceive an image.

"While I did envision a young woman in 'swoon mode' and a tree, the doodle I doodled fell seriously short. My aforementioned husband had a look and said, 'What's that stuff growing out of the girl's butt?' To which I barked, 'Bark! Don't you know the bark of an ash tree when you see it?'

"The only other concept that occurred involved my hero/antagonist, Sinclair 'Sin' Youngblood Powers
Sin.jpg
. Several months into writing I happened on a magazine advertisement--and couldn't look away. The dude was Sin. Except with manlier hands and 18th century teeth. Still, it just didn't feel right to have a guy--even if we could track down this guy--adorning SWOON.

"Then the fateful email arrived. One download later, I was in love. Sure, I could nitpick. Point out that the subject is a redhead who resembles none of the characters of SWOON. Complain that her pose seems a tad comatose (if not dead) and argue that a person in swoon mode is very, very, very much alive. Me being me, I did--nitpicked, pointed out, complained and argued. Remarkably, they listened, offering to do a photo shoot and forwarding pics of prospective models.

"At which point I slapped on the kibosh--except for a semi-metallic sheen to the title, the final cover of SWOON hasn't changed one iota from Cara's original comp.

"Because my initial reaction was that this image evoked the darkness, mystery, romance and sensuality of SWOON. Because I've learned to trust my instincts. And because I believe in love at first sight."

So do I. And this cover? LOVE. Do you guys agree? Also, Nina's notes on the Sin model crack me up! And her drawing actually DOES have some resemblance to the final cover, at least the head-thrown-back thing, right? I'm impressed.

2 comments:

J. Kaye said...

Totally agree about the book's cover. Can't wait for book 2!

Donna Gambale said...

Really cool cover story! That magazine pic is very much Sin.