I asked Joanne to share how it came about, and here she is:
"I always imagined something beautiful for the cover, but brooding and atmospheric too. For me, Mary Shelley has always conjured up images of windswept moors, flickering candles, and of course the pitiful and mutilated monster in her most famous book Frankenstein. But I knew these kind of images couldn’t go on the cover. Out of the Shadows is about a contemporary woman who thinks she is related to Mary Shelley. It is not a biography, nor a book solely about Frankenstein. The cover, I knew, must speak to the past, the present, and the future just as the novel aims to do.
"My editor and I discussed the cover beforehand and we both agreed that it should combine a contemporary feel with a touch of the gothic. It was my editor who suggested a woman looking in a mirror, but I quickly agreed. Out of the Shadows not only follows Clara Fitzgerald’s journey to discover the truth about her connection to Mary Shelley. It‘s also a book about Clara’s journey to discover herself and to really see herself for the first time. The mirror seems a fitting symbol for this.
"When I saw the cover, it was Love! Seriously. I fell utterly in love with it. In fact, I fell so head over the heels that, like an anxious lover, I quickly became worried that the art department might want to change or tweak it or somehow take away my object of love!
"I made no comments, except 'I love it. Please don’t change a thing!' Thankfully, they barely changed it from the first draft, except to insert a blurb. Also, even more deliciously, they added pale blue foil lettering on the final copies!
"As I said, I think the mirror perfectly symbolizes Clara’s own soul searching in the book. But the juxtaposition of this ornate and antique mirror with a more contemporary looking woman also speaks to the way the book mixes history with the present. Out of the Shadows is told from alternating points of view between Clara and the young Mary Shelley preparing to write Frankenstein. In many ways, Clara and Mary’s stories are so different. Mary is a young girl growing up in early nineteenth-century London, while Clara is a thirty-something professor who lives in modern day New York City. But there are many echoes too. Mary and Clara are both on the cusp of finding themselves. They are searching for a way out of the shadows of those around them. For Mary, it is the shadow of her mother’s death, her father’s protection, and the life that doesn’t yet fulfill her. For Clara, she must find a way to live for herself, to pursue her own dreams, and not just follow her fiancé’s career. And this, in fact, is another way the cover relates to the book. The stark contrast between the woman (with her rich red lips and intricate dress) and the dark, rich hues of the rest of the jacket speaks to this emergence from the shadows and this journey from darkness to light and clarity. At least, I think so!"
Thanks, Joanne! I love it even more now that I know about all the symbolism behind it. Now if I could just find out what lipstick shade she has on...
What do you guys think of the cover?
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 new awkward-stage blog Before You Were Hot. Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.