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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cover Stories: Wintering Well by Lea Wait

When I went up to the Albany Children's Book Festival in the spring, I sat next to Lea Wait (yay for alphabetical order!) and we got to talking about one of the books she had on her table, Wintering Well. Of course, we got into Cover talk, and I heard the amazing story behind this book's two covers. And now Lea's here to share it:

"I’ve usually had a good relationship with my editors at McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster) regarding covers. Discussion for the cover of Wintering Well started innocently enough, when I asked whether the artist who had done the artwork for my previous two historical for McElderry would also be doing the cover of Wintering Well. I was told that, no, a digital photograph would be used this time instead of original art. When I pressed the issue (I really liked the artist’s work, and thought all my covers should have the same look) I was told Barnes & Noble wanted all middle reader books to have digital photo covers, so if I wanted my book to be in B&N, that’s the way it would be.

"O – KAY! My editor then asked what the main character in my book, Will, looked like. I described him as I did in the book. It was 1819; he worked on a Maine farm; he wore a smock over long trousers, had sun-bleached hair and blue eyes. She hired a young model, clothed him appropriately, and I thought the result was a great cover (above left), even if it was a photo and not a painting.

"Shortly after the book was published I got an email from the mother of the model. She wanted to tell me that her son, Sasha, was modeling to save for college. She also thought I’d like to know he’d been adopted from Russia as an older child, since she’d read in my bio that I’d adopted four older children. I was delighted to know, and added Sasha’s story when I was asked about the boy on the cover – as I frequently was.

"Eighteen months later, Wintering Well was published again, this time in paperback. My other books had made this journey before, and their covers had traveled with them: the same cover appeared on the paperback as on hardcover.

"So I took a very deep breath when I opened an envelope with an advance copy of the paperback edition of Wintering Well and came face-to-face, not with Sasha, but with a boy I’d never seen before..."

Read the rest of Lea's Cover Story on melissacwalker.com.


holly cupala said...

What an interesting story! It's a beautiful cover.

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