"I don’t think I ever had a specific vision of the cover, but I had hoped for something vibrant, because I see my main character as a vibrant person, and I’m not sure pastels, or a softer concept would suit her. And, of course, I knew there had to be a dog.
"I think they ran several concept ideas past my editor, but I don’t really know what the other cover concepts were. It’s really hard to find a stock photo of a black German Shepherd with a long stock coat like the dog in Stay. Joe, the dog in the book, was inspired by my dog, Argo. I offered to take some pictures of Argo, to see if we could get anything usable. They sent me some sample pictures of other dogs to give me an idea of the shot they were looking for. I took over 1,000 pictures of Argo in our backyard on a Sunday afternoon, and sent the best ones along to Dutton to choose from.
"For me, this whole process has been stages of getting closer to believing that Stay being published is actually real, and not some super long and elaborate daydream. Seeing the cover, with my name on it, and my dog on it was another one of the 'Oh wow, this is real' moments. It was amazing.
"The photo on the cover now isn’t the one in the first version. After I saw the concept for the cover, we talked about which photos might work best. I sent along a few more shots, and they found the perfect one in that batch of photos.
"It’s so flattering to think that Monica Benalcazar read Stay and created this cover. I love the primary colors of the cover and, of course, I’m partial to the dog. I feel like Monica really captured the spirit of the book in the cover. I am in love with the little 'a novel' dog tag that hangs off the title. It’s so clever! And now that I’ve seen the full book jacket, I’m even more in love. There’s another photo of Argo on the back, and the blurbs are framed in yellow. The rest of the jacket is a fantastic continuation of the cover concept. And, overall, it’s such a wonderful visual interpretation of my story. I couldn’t be happier with it!"
"This book is, in so many ways, about how unconditional love can change your life. Argo has completely changed my life. He has truly made me a better and stronger person. He inspired this story and he kept me company while I wrote it. Having his photo on the cover means so much to me."
Thanks, Allie! Argo is gorgeous and the little "A Novel" tag is the perfect touch, I think!
What do you guys think of this cover? Do you have a favorite animal 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.