My favourite part of writing a book is waiting to see what the cover design will look like. It's a bit like expecting a baby in so many ways! You carry this precious thing around with you for so long and finally you get to meet them face to face. Suddenly everything feels complete. I always knew that the moon should feature on the cover of the first book but I also had to accept that I knew very little about book illustration and even less about art. I trusted Graham (my lovely editor) implicitly and he did not let me down. He did not relax until we had a cover that did justice to Bree and her story. Imagine my delight when I first saw the rough drafts for my debut novel. Lawrence Mann is the guy who designed what is now the brilliant cover for "Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket" Check out his website, he truly is a brilliant artist. Here's what Graham, Commissioning Editor at Strident Publishing had to say about him.
"Lawrence has a rare - and invaluable - knack of being able to strike exactly the right note first time with his designs. This can only come from the combination of a formidable talent and a shrewd understanding of the material and its market. All publishers are grateful for this kind of intuition, but for small publishers it can be a lifesaver. The work he has designed for us took our collective breaths away from the first preparatory sketch and the final versions were beyond our expectations"
I remember the first time I saw the completed design. It felt like someone had reached into my brain and dug around inside my imagination. That's a goosebump moment, I can tell you! Somehow, Lawrence had managed to draw the characters exactly as I had seen them in my mind's eye (only Sandy's glasses were missing but I'm fine with that now - I tell the kids I meet that he has removed his glasses so that he can blow his nose!) I fell in love with the illustration instantly and nine months later I am still finding tiny details that I didn't see the first time round. I love everything about this cover right down to the multi-coloured fingernails on Honey's hand and the fact that the moon looks like it would still glow even if all the lights in the room were turned off. And of course there is the fantabulous logo (see above) which feels so iconic and well established ("somewhere between the Mystery Machine and Motorhead" ~ Graham Watson)
I cannot WAIT to see what Lawrence comes up with for the sequel to the first book, "Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus" which will be in all good book shops sometime late Summer. I have an image in my head of what I would like to see (oranges and reds will take over from the now familiar deep pink?) but I trust Lawrence to do what is best for Bree and he may come up with something entirely different.
I feel so privileged to have Lawrence Mann on board for Bree McCready. I suppose I see Bree, Honey and Sandy as my children and therefore, like any good parent I believe they deserve only the best. I think I have that with Lawrence.