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, October 24, 2009

Cover Stories: Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart

Our lovely Author-in-Residence, Beth Kephart, shared this story on my blog, and I'm happy to bring it to readergirlz! (Don't forget to enter Beth's latest writing challenge by Monday.)

Here's Beth:

NothingButGhosts HC c.jpg
"Since Nothing but Ghosts is rooted not just in my imagination, but within Chanticleer, a very specific pleasure garden that I have now visited for years, this book was always visually alive to me. I could see each scene--place it atop the ambling hill, or beside the watercress stream, or within the shadows of a tree at night. I could see it. I hoped that others would.

"I sent photographs of the garden to my editor, Jill Santopolo, and to Carla Weise, art director, at HarperTeen. I sent images, too, of young women standing by windows, since
this is one of the book's prevalent themes. And then I waited, as Jill, Carla, and the
HarperTeen worked through what sounds like dozens of possibilities. One of the pivotal scenes in the book
involves the sun streaming through a window and catching the light of tinted bottles; a related image was
apparently tried. There are horses and old photographs in this book; these, too, were considered. In the end, there was but one day left before the book would have to be sent out for binding into ARCs, and that is the day that I first saw, on my husband's tiny phone, the image that became the Nothing but Ghosts cover.

"I loved it--every single thing about it--and felt the great happiness that arises when one feels as if an editor, an art director, and a marketing team have entered into your world and seen just what it was you were hoping to leave behind. That mood. That manner of maturity. That character waiting for a breeze. I seek, with my YA novels, to write beyond
genre or category--simply to tell a story that has a teen protagonist at its heart, in a way that engages any reader, of any age. This particular cover is timeless and ageless, too. Oh, how I had hoped for that.

"It is rare when an author feels as at peace as I have felt about this particular cover. I know how lucky I got, this time around, and I am grateful."

I love this cover! I think it has a softness and a sense of nostalgia--and whoa, those grounds that Beth knows, how gorgeous are they? Everyone should read this book--it's fantastic. Beth Kephart is a wonderful writer (just check out her blog, filled with photos and poetry daily--a bouquet of posts to enjoy!). I mean, Beth even writes poetry when she's telling me her Cover Story!


Beth Kephart said...

Wow, thank you, Melissa, for reposting this happy story.

It brings back some very good memories.

And thanks for reminding your readers about the contest! I do love reading the work that gets sent in.

Little Willow said...

So glad that you got a cover you love.

Shelf Elf said...

This is a great story. Shows how much work goes into something beautiful. I agree with Beth that it's just perfect in capturing the mood and spirit of her story.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Poetry and Beth. Can't be separated.

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