Rainbow Rowell's new book has such a charming cover that I had to find out more about it. Here's the author to talk about its delightful design and that special ampersand:
"Eleanor & Park is my second novel. I knew from my experience with
Attachments (right), my first book, that the author often doesn't have a lot of say in the cover design process . . . So I definitely didn't come in with a list of ideas and dreams.
"But I did think about it. I wanted a cover that the main characters of the book, especially Eleanor, would be proud of. Eleanor (unlike me) isn't very romantic. I thought she'd be mortified by a really schmoopy cover.
"Also, Eleanor isn't a conventionally beautiful girl. She really struggles with her appearance and whether she's pretty enough for Park to love. So it was important to me that she not be misrepresented on the cover. I felt like it would be a betrayal to present her as a thin, perfectly symmetrical, red-haired model.
"My editor and I talked about the cover at the very beginning. We both really wanted an illustrated cover. And we talked about how we wanted the cover to capture the vibe/feeling of the book. The intimacy of it. This isn't a big sweeping story; it's pretty tightly focused on the two main characters. I remember my editor sent me a New Yorker cover that she liked -- this one -- and she was like, 'Not exactly like this, but like this.' And I thought, 'YES. SHE GETS IT.'
"This cover started in a very different place. We went through a number of not-quite-right versions. My publishing team -- the editor and designer at St. Martin's Press -- were amazing during this process. My editor kept saying, 'We'll get there. We'll find the perfect cover.'
"The publisher hired an illustrator -- the very talented Harriet Russell. (Harriet blogged about the cover here.) And when I finally saw this version, I felt like she was right. I loved how simple and romantic it was. And I was head over heels for that ampersand. Music is an important part of Eleanor and Park's relationship, so the headphone ampersand is SO RIGHT.
"The process was a conversation. It always felt like we were all on the same team. We're working on my next cover now -- for my third book, Fangirl -- and that's been even more of a collaboration.
"There's a great designer working on my books -- Olga Grlic -- and she's been wonderful from the start. I felt like she really believed in the book and the characters, and wanted to do right by them. The concept for this cover is all Olga's. (Though I think my editor, Sara Goodman, came up with that genius ampersand.)
"An example of how great and open they are: When Olga started working on Fangirl, I suggested one of my favorite illustrators -- and St. Martin's ended up hiring that illustrator to do the cover! I'm unbelievably excited about it.
"I love my cover. I just feel like it captures so much of my story in a very simple, minimal way. Just the intimacy of those two people, completely in each other's heads, but not touching."
Thanks, Rainbow! I love this cover -- it's quiet but effective. Romantic without being "schmoopy." Nice colors too.
What do you guys think of this cover?
Melissa Walker is the author of six Young Adult novels, the latest of which is Unbreak My Heart (pictured). Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com. Follow her on Twitter @melissacwalker.
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