"When I first saw the design, I loved the color. It was, and still is, a luscious shade of orange. I didn't like the art piece, though, so we (meaning they!) went back to work on that. And of course, there was the matter of my agent who felt much more strongly that the Viking art department was not going in the right direction. My editor wanted me to be happy with it, and kept asking me what I thought, felt, wanted.
"They were quite accommodating and simultaneously, forthright in the many iterations we went through (two shown above, courtesy of Viking Penguin). The most difficult thing about figuring out the cover was conveying the essence of the book through the art we selected. Since the book is about money and food, I kept suggesting money and food themes, but none of them seemed right (and even I could see that, despite my desires). Because although Lost and Found is about money and food, it traverses territory far beyond either of those, and I wanted that depth to be conveyed on the cover. Alas, my wonderful agent went slightly mad at this point. He began taking photographs with his cell phone of dollar bills crumpled on his dinner plates and sending them to my editor and me at unusual times of the night.
"In terms of changes, the color is exactly the same. The font is the same. I wanted my name to be smaller than they originally had it, and they were willing to make that change. Also, the art changed many times. At some point, I decided to listen to my editor and the art department and take myself out of my usual, 'I want this or I want that.' Quite a change for me! Somewhere in the process, I realized that my job was to write the book, and that I was a wordsmith not a visual artist. Also, that I needed to be firm enough with my agent to tell him that his career was not as a photographer. So I trusted that the visual people knew more than I did--and that as long as I loved the feeling that the cover conveyed, I could go along with what they felt was the right tone. Trusting and letting go is not exactly my strength, so it took a bit of time to arrive on a final decision.
"In the end, I love the cover. The color makes me feel glad to be alive, and I find the art piece lovely and ambiguous enough to allow people to make their own conclusions about what it conveys. I haven't found any hidden meanings, but it's always interesting to me to hear what other people say when they look at the cover. I've heard things like, 'Oh, it's the tree of life' and 'Wow, it's the money tree!' and 'This is the tree where anything can grow.' Nice."
Melissa Walker is the author of four Young Adult novels, including the Violet trilogy and Lovestruck Summer. She is co-creator of the popular teen newsletter I Heart Daily and the awkward-stage blog Before You Were Hot, as well as the blogger for readergirlz.com. Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.
You must be a registered user to add a comment here. If you've already registered, please log in. If you haven't registered yet, please register and log in.