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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!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cover Stories: Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Brother-sister author team, Daniel and Dina Nayeri, is here to tell the tale of their cover for their debut novel Another Faust. This cover has enchanted me from first glance, so I couldn't wait to interview them. Here are Daniel and Dina:

AF_finalcover(2).jpg
"We had so many brainstorms over this between the two of us and with friends and our publisher. We talked at length about the concept of 'things that aren't what they seem,' because that is a huge theme in the book. Beauty that isn't real, accolades that aren't accomplishments, talents that are illusions. Even the Faust children's house is a trick of the eye.

"On the cover, we wanted to show five teens who seem one way when you first glance at them, and then when you really take the time to look, seem entirely different. So we played around with the idea of a hologram, and then with the idea of having a half-photographic, half illustrated cover. In the end, the objective is accomplished through the faces of the models and their surroundings. When you first look at the cover, you see five beautiful young adults who are just mesmerizing. But when you really look, you can see how sad they are, you wonder about the moths floating around them, and the general darkness of the space they're inhabiting, and you think, 'Something isn't right here.' It becomes very eerie when you think that these are supposed to be 15-year-olds-- because where's the joy?

"Candlewick involved us in most steps of the process (even when they didn't have to). We brainstormed with our editor and the marketing department and looked at several photographers before choosing a style. The idea of showing the children in a state that says 'all is not as well as it seems' was the product of one of these brainstorms. And then, the creative team at Candlewick translated the concept to a visual medium by working with the photographer.

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"The cover involved a photo shoot with models hired specifically to be our characters [MW note: those are two of the models, left and right... sweet]. We were very lucky to have this special treatment for our cover and the result has been amazing! Candlewick chose 3-4 models for each character and we got to give our opinion on which we liked best.
modeljarrett.jpg
We were particularly impressed when we saw the final result and realized that they had even chosen the accessories of the models to match our characters!! Victoria for example, is wearing a "V" pendant that was described in the book. We couldn't believe that someone actually went out and bought that necklace to use in the photo shoot! Of course, the models' hair and clothes were all styled based on the characters as well. And each character is posing in a way that perfectly matches their personality. For example, in the book we talk about how Valentin (the boy with curly hair) always has his hands in his pockets, and how Bice (the girl at the top of the page) feels shy and withdrawn from the rest. You can see more from the photo shoot in the official trailer.

"When we first saw the cover, we were blown away. You should see the email we each sent to our publisher. I don't think either one of us has used that many exclamation points in any communication... ever. :)

"In terms of comments, we pointed out that Belle should be blonder and that Christian (the boy seated) was a red-head. Just a few small things. The cover didn't change much, just some hair color adjustment, and they made the background a lot more eerie and dark, to match the tone of the book.

"We love the cover. It's creepy and thought-provoking and still sexy and interesting. We think it really captures the dark, creepy tone of the book, while still showing the glamorous illusion that the children in the novel are striving to achieve. We hope that potential readers don't just think of it as a sexy cover, but really look to see the dark tone beneath it all, because Another Faust is not a lighthearted NYC teen romp.... It's a pretty creepy Faustian tale with a lot of layers that we hope provide intellectual challenge!

Here are a few bonus visuals.

The catalogue page:

AF_catalogspreadfinal.jpg


An early flier:

ANOTHERFAUST_comp.jpg


dirt.jpg
"Finally, here's an extra tidbit. When we were first deciding what should be on the cover, we had a big discussion over whether the cover should present Madame Vileroy (the devil governess) or the five children who bargain their souls. In the end, we chose the children because they are the 'Fausts' of this novel and their decisions drive the story. But back when we were considering having Madame Vileroy on the cover, we used this photo of the TV show 'Dirt' as inspiration for the kind of woman we wanted to portray: a beautiful, tempting, and ultimately evil villainess who has indirect power over those around her. And we loved the image of the writhing souls beneath her skirt. But in the end, we much preferred placing the teens center-stage."

Great story! Hot models. Fantastic inspiration photo (souls writing under skirts rule). This cover totally draws me in, and I'm really looking forward to reading the book. What do you guys think?

2 comments:

Lauren said...

What a neat, modern take on Faust. The cover is incredibly enchanting - I've seen it in bookstores often and I'm ALWAYS drawn to it. Great cover story!

MissAttitude said...

The dirt cover is amazing and definitely inspiring!

I was immeditaely drawn to Another Faust because of the cover. I didn't know anything about the Faustian bargain. It was a good book, eery and fascinating.

So glad to hear the authors were so involved in the making of the cover. The models fit how I (and maybe other readers) pictured the characters quite well :)