It’s always nerve-racking seeing the cover of your book for the first time. The book you’ve spent years writing. In the case of Scar Town, I’ve been thinking, jotting notes and developing the characters, setting and plot for fourteen years, ever since writing a short story called Adaan that inspired the book in 2009.
I love writing, but there’s nothing that says, ‘The book is done’ like the day you see the cover. It’s also scary because what if it’s not right? What if they misunderstood your masterpiece? (Heehaw.)
Luckily, I have had the good fortune to have Christa Moffitt (@christabelladesigns) design six of my books, including all five of my crime-mystery-suspense novels, Two Wolves, The Fall, Detention, Cop & Robber and now Scar Town. (Ginger Meggs was the other book that Christa designed.) And it appears that Christa is a genius. Even so, she will often provide two or three covers to choose from. But, on Scar Town, my publisher Zoe Walton (also a genius) emailed to tell me that there was just one cover to share and that they all loved it. Nervous, I double-clicked the file, waited for Adobe Reader to do its thing, and there it was. Scar Town. My favourite of all the covers.
In this post, I have a chance to speak to Christa about the thinking that goes into designing a book with specific examples from these five novels. I hope you enjoy her responses.
Interview With Book Designer Christa Moffitt
TB: What were some of the influences, choices or decisions that might have gone into the design of the Two Wolves cover nine years ago that has led to this series of covers?
CM: I don’t remember thinking of, or being briefed on, Two Wolves as though it was the start of a series, or an ongoing look for your books. Which probably helped the cover direction because it wasn’t confined by setting up a certain look to be carried across multiple books. I think we created a bit of a stand-out in the genre. It was an elevated, interesting look, which in turn gave us a great unexpected base for the next cover.
TB: Each cover has its own distinct identity. On the Detention cover the silhouette or vector of the character dominated the cover, rather than a building or setting with a smaller character. Do you remember what led to this choice? And on Cop & Robber you innovated in the choice of colours. Are you able to give any insight into these evolutions?
CM: I love that every cover has its own identity, I think we have created a framework that is really unique. By carrying the type across all covers we have a continuity that links them all, then we have used a figure, just in different ways, whether in the cover art or as more of an icon. With Detention, I think the subject matter leant itself better to have the figure central to help portray more emotion.
Cop & Robber felt more action driven and the bold colours of the type are borrowed from the image.
Each cover evolves on its own, the setting being the base of the cover and then that image drives the colour palette. Zoe has a fabulous unique way of briefing covers which is really visual and takes away a lot of guesswork, which I think helps us get on the same page faster and get a cover that really suits each book.
TB: Did the Scar Town cover just come together easily – colour and image and layout – or was it a long process? Can you give some insight into how you and Zoe worked together on this one and what influenced your decisions?
CM: Scar Town did come together easily. The chosen cover was in the first round of drafts. I think the setting helped us to find some really good image base / background images. And so too did the bikes. It gave us a different version of figure style.
I also like how muted the background was and to differentiate it from Two Wolves we played with type colours, but the punchy original concept colours won out. I love this cover. It is a testament to good design that almost ten years after Two Wolves we still have the same base design, but with little updates over the years it continues to be a fresh look that is a leading the look of the genre.
Click Here to Read The Opening Chapters of the Book
Click Here To Pre-Order Your Copy of Scar Town on Paper, eBook or Audio
See video below for my first peek at the finished book!