Sunday was the day of the cover reveal for my new novel “Belvedere Crescent.” It’s always a moment of excitement which is laced with a few nerves. Will my potential readers like the image I’ve chosen? Will it encourage them to buy the book, or will it put them off? Does it give enough of a hint about the genre and themes of the novel to intrigue?
Whatever the questions, the one thing I do know is that the cover will be different. Love it or hate it, it will stand out from the usual generic run of computer generated images, or stock photos.
This is because the covers of my books are all individual pieces of art. They are paintings by my sister Anuk Naumann which have been formatted by my brilliant cover designer Peter Coleborn of Penkhull Press. Some have been specifically commissioned for a particular novel, like “City of Secrets” and “Bridge of Lies”, the first two books in the series The Adventures of Letty Parker. Others, like the images used in “Picking up the Pieces” and “Shadows on the Grass” come from existing paintings that Anuk has kindly given me permission to use.
The cover for “Belvedere Crescent” however has a rather different history.
Although the street is a fictional one, it is based on a specific road in Clifton. A rather dark, dank row of terraces facing a garden ringed with a black ironwork fence. Since I first walked past it way back when as a teenager this is place that has insinuated itself into my imagination. I always knew there was a story behind those windows, I didn’t know, until a couple of years ago what it was.
How the characters of identical twins Thea and Sadie came to me, I’m really not sure, but once I heard their voices their story unfolded and I knew what I had to write. I also knew exactly where they lived and what sinister secrets lurked behind the façade of number fifteen Belvedere Crescent.
Although I knew what the street looked like, I had no photograph of it. What I did have was an old painting of my sister’s. It had hung in Mum’s living room for years and I had always associated it with something dark and hidden. It was therefore the perfect choice.
Or so I thought.
Dark though I had considered it when Peter came to use it, it didn’t work. It took some skilful photo-shopping on his part to produce the brooding, textured feel that perfectly sums up the mood of the novel.