Cover Reveal: The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins

I’ve been fortunate enough to host a great number of cover reveals on Pop! Goes The Reader this month. Every single one holds a special place in my heart, but I would be lying if I said that this one wasn’t a little extra special for me, personally. Today I’m overjoyed to welcome my dear friend and author, Hayley Chewins, as we prepare to reveal the cover of Hayley’s debut novel, The Turnaway Girls. Hayley was one of the first people I met when I joined the book blogging community back in late 2013 and remains one of the kindest, most generous, sincere and empathetic individuals I know. I feel so lucky to be able to call her a friend and to be able to help her with such an important moment in her journey to publication is a dream come true. From our earliest Twitter conversations in 2015 to present-day, I’ve been able to watch Hayley’s dreams of being published become a reality and to be asked to share in even a small part of that absolutely means the world to me. Coming to a bookstore and library near you October 9th 2018 from Candlewick Press, The Turnaway Girls is an upper middle grade novel that tells the story of the isolated, wind-whipped island of Blightsend where girls transform music into gold but are not allowed to make any music themselves and the one girl who must male a difficult choice between her safety and her voice. The cover of The Turnaway Girls was illustrated by Sarah J. Coleman. Please read on to learn more about The Turnaway Girls, including an exclusive cover reveal, a special note from the author and a chance to win an advance reader copy of the novel from Candlewick Press!


About Hayley Chewins

Hayley Chewins grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, in a house so full of books that she learnt to read by accident. Hayley studied classical voice for a year before switching to a degree in English Literature and Italian and holds an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a house full of art and music and colour, with her husband and a very small poodle. She believes in two things above all else: the magic of love, and the heroism of sisters. Her debut novel, The Turnaway Girls, will release from Candlewick and Walker Books in October 2018.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

When I first started writing novels — or trying to write them — I used to spend a lot of time daydreaming about what my future books might look like.

And yet, everything I ever imagined pales in comparison to this: the cover that the brilliant, wise and wonderful Sarah J. Coleman created for The Turnaway Girls.

I nearly fell off my chair when I first saw it. It has everything I ever wanted in a cover: profound symbolism, a hidden hint at what lies at the heart of the story, and a dark, moody palette. Oh, and ink. Lots of ink.

I’m so grateful to everyone at Candlewick for making my cover dreams come true, and so thrilled to be able to share this little piece of magic with you today.



Title The Turnaway Girls
Author Hayley Chewins
Pages 272 Pages
Intended Target Audience Upper Middle Grade
Genre Fantasy
To Be Published October 9th 2018 by Candlewick Press (US) and Walker Books (UK)
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Twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of Blightsend. Outside, the Masters — all boys and men — play music. Inside, the turnaway girls silently, silently make that music into gold. Making shimmer, Mother Nine calls it.

But Delphernia can’t make shimmer.

She would rather sing than stay silent.

When a Master who doesn’t act like a Master comes to the skydoor, it’s a chance for Delphernia to leave the cloister. Outside the stone dome, the sea breathes like a wild beast, the sky blinks with stars like eyes, and even the gardens have claws. Outside, Delphernia is caught between the island’s silent Custodian and its ominous Childer-Queen. Outside, there is a poem-speaking prince and a girl who makes Delphernia think of freedom.

Delphernia doesn’t know how to be free in Blightsend. Blightsend can’t be free without her.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Candlewick Press has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win an advance reader copy of The Turnaway Girls! This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and the prize will be distributed by Candlewick at the conclusion of the giveaway. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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Cover Reveal: The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Ever since I was lucky enough to have had an opportunity to work with Laura E. Weymouth in June 2017 for the blog’s annual Her Story series, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Laura’s debut. In that post, one in which Laura shared a touching story about adolescent fear and uncertainty and the light that books like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring Of Endless Light can provide in the face of such darkness, Laura’s writing was vulnerable, sensitive and touching, and I knew I needed to read more by her as soon as I possibly could. Nearly nine months later, I’m thrilled to welcome Laura to Pop! Goes The Reader once again as we share the exclusive cover reveal for Laura’s debut novel, The Light Between Worlds! Coming to a bookstore and library near you October 23rd 2018 from HarperTeen, The Light Between Worlds is a young adult novel that tells the story of sisters Evelyn and Philippa who, after being temporarily transported to a fantastical realm called the Woodlands, are returned to their home in London and must learn what it means to live in the world, particularly in the wake of what they have previously experienced. Laura has been kind enough to tell us a little more about the novel and what it means to her below. The cover of The Light Between Worlds was designed by Jessie Gang with accompanying art by by Garrigosa Studio. Please read on to learn more about The Light Between Worlds, including an exclusive cover reveal, a special note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration and a chance to win a a pre-order, hardcover copy of the novel as well as a $25.00 (USD) Amazon gift card from Laura E. Weymouth!


About Laura E. Weymouth

Laura Weymouth is a Canadian exile in America, and the sixth consecutive generation of her family to immigrate from one country to another. Born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario, she now lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, and an indeterminate number of chickens. She dreams of someday adding bees and sheep to her menagerie.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

For almost my entire life, I’ve found the work of CS Lewis to be both an inspiration and a comfort. I’ve read his books, both fiction and nonfiction, went on a Lewis-inspired pilgrimage to Oxford, and even own (and have read!) a giant 3-volume set of his collected letters. So when, a few years ago, I saw an MSWL (Manuscript Wish List) tweet expressing interest in a story about Susan Pevensie post-Narnia, it caught my attention.

What a fascinating idea, I thought. I’d love to read that.

A few months later, the tweet was back in circulation and I saw it again.

What an fascinating idea, I thought this time. I think I need to write it. I think I’d want to fight anyone else who did.

I began to write that book, and as I wrote, it grew and changed and became more. It’s now about sisters and the ties that bind them; about the thin, sometimes permeable line between magic and reality; about being and belonging and home.

It is an odd story, full of poetry and paintings, caught between worlds and timelines, and was always going to be a challenge to create a cover for. But I have a brilliant editor and advocate in Alice Jerman of HarperTeen, who’s a true kindred spirit. She worked tirelessly to ensure the cover of The Light Between Worlds would reflect its heart, and I’m so, so grateful to her. My first glimpse of the cover she and the marvelous design team at Harper created took my breath away, and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you.



Title The Light Between Worlds
Author Laura E. Weymouth
Pages 368 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published October 23rd 2018 by HarperTeen
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Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. But that night took a turn when the sisters were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge.

When Ev and Phil finally returned to London, nothing had changed at all — nothing, except themselves.

Now, Evelyn spends her days sneaking into the woods outside her boarding school, wishing for the Woodlands. Overcome with longing, she is desperate to return no matter what it takes.

Philippa, on the other hand, is determined to find a place in this world. She shields herself behind a flawless exterior and countless friends, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was.

But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.

Content warnings are available via the author’s website.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Laura has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a pre-order of The Light Between Worlds in hardcover as well as a $25.00 (USD) Amazon gift card! This contest is open internationally and the winner will be chosen at random at the conclusion of the giveaway. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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Cover Reveal: This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender

Happy Valentines Day, friends! I can think of no better or more special way to celebrate a holiday meant to commemorate love and connection in all its forms than in helping to share a little about an upcoming book that explores just that. Today on Pop! Goes The Reader, I have the incredible honour of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender! I’ve long been an admirer of Kheryn’s voice in the KidLit community and their tireless advocacy for diversity and inclusivity in children’s literature, so having an opportunity to work with them was a dream come true and I feel lucky to have been able to do so. Coming to a bookstore and library near you October 30th 2018 from Balzer & Bray, This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story is a romantic comedy that tells the story of sixteen-year-old Nathan Bird who, along with the help of his best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend again, Florence, explores his growing feelings for his childhood best friend, Oliver James Hernández, who has recently moved back to town. Kheryn has been kind enough to tell us a little more about the novel and what it means to them below. Suffice it to say this is one 2018 release you do not want to miss! The cover of This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story was designed by Michelle Cunningham and illustrated by Nathan Burton.


About Kheryn Callender

Kheryn Callender is the author of Hurricane Child (available March 27, 2018) and This is Kind of An Epic Love Story (available September 18, 2018). They’re an Associate Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, and are committed to expanding diversity in children’s books.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrGoodreads

This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story is about sixteen-year-old Nathan Bird, an aspiring screenwriter who has seen the demise of too many real-life relationships to believe in happy endings (including his own with his best friend and ex-girlfriend), but must confront feelings for his childhood friend, Oliver James Hernández, when Ollie moves back to their neighborhood.

Epic Love Story is the rom-com I would’ve wanted (and still want to see more of) as a queer teen of color. There will always be a need for coming out stories and difficult stories of adversity because of identity, like Hurricane Child — but especially now, with so much real adversity queer people of color already struggle with, I think there’s now an equal need for reminders that happiness and epic love stories are possible and do exist for people like us as well. Especially after the results of the latest Presidential election, I felt a power in writing a love story for people like me. This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story is available on October 30th of this year.



Title This Is Kind Of An Epic Love Story
Author Kheryn Callender
Pages 304 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published October 30th 2018 by Balzer & Bray
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Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings. Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist for real people.

Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his M.O. ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel – but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend again Florence is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is romcom-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily-ever-after?

New Kids On The Block 2018 with Ashley Woodfolk

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2018? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at Jen@PopGoesTheReader.com. I would love to collaborate with you!


About Ashley Woodfolk

Ashley Woodfolk has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and works in children’s book publishing. She writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment, where she lives with her cute husband and her cuter dog. The Beauty That Remains is her debut novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrGoodreads


Loss is one of those universal experiences that everyone goes through but no one likes to talk about.

At least that’s the way it’s always been in my family.

Whenever a beloved is lost in my family, we don’t really talk about that person anymore. The more beloved the person was, the more silence surrounds their passing, or I should say, their absence if the loss of them it isn’t due to death. Maybe this isn’t so unique, (or maybe it is), but I’ve never visited any of my loved ones’ graves, or spoken at length about relatives who were incarcerated or estranged or otherwise separated from me, and neither have or do most of the people in my family. There might be a mention here or there in passing; a “she would have said this” or “he might have liked that”. But we never linger. We rarely reminisce beyond looking at photographs -never with stories or memories; wishes or regrets or dreams.

There’s a part of me that would love to be able to call my mother or father and speak at length about someone we both once loved, but I know that if I tried to the subject would quickly be changed. I know that they’d question why I wanted to speak about the past, and I know that I wouldn’t have the strength to continue once I was challenged or refused the opportunity to remember. Because that’s what it takes to talk about the hard things: a brawny kind of bravery.

And because this has been how my family deals (or rather avoids) loss, I’ve never really learned how to cope with it, which has lead to panic attacks at my worst moments, and petty fights at my “best.” Still, the pain and fear that surrounds the various losses I’ve experienced are always there, and in some ways, I’m always hurting and scared, at least a little.

But, then I remember: there are books.

I’ve found so much catharsis in reading books about grief, sometimes even more so than I have in finding someone who was willing to listen as I talked about these things (though I’ve done A LOT of that too. Side note: Don’t sleep on therapy, people. It’s the bee’s knees.) But the books that helped me through some of my darkest times are a big part of the reason I wrote the book that I wrote – I was writing through that pain and fear. So here’s a list of some of my most favorite books on loss. (I should mention that not all of the losses in these novels are deaths. But they all handle loss as a concept really, really well and are full to bursting with hope.)

I hope they’ll help you find a little peace when you need it most.


Publication Date March 9th 2010 by Dial Books
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Adrift after her sister Bailey’s sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby — Bailey’s boyfriend who shares her grief — and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs…though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.

Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.

As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.



Publication Date February 14th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.



Publication Date March 7th 2017 by Crown Books For Young Readers
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Perfect for fans of Turtles All The Way Down, Thirteen Reasons Why, and Zentner’s own The Serpent King, one of the most highly acclaimed YA novels of 2016, Goodbye Days asks what you would do if you could spend one last day with someone you lost.

Where are you guys? Text me back. That’s the last message Carver Briggs will ever send his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. He never thought that it would lead to their death.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, a powerful judge is pressuring the district attorney to open up a criminal investigation.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a “goodbye day” together to share their memories and say a proper farewell.

Soon the other families are asking for their own goodbye day with Carver—but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these goodbye days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or — even worse — prison?



Publication Date April 4th 2017 by Philomel Books
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A moving story of grief, honesty, and the healing power of art — the ties that bind us together, even when those we love are gone.

Melanie and Damon are both living in the shadow of loss. For Melanie, it’s the loss of her larger-than-life artist mother, taken by cancer well before her time. For Damon, it’s the loss of his best friend, Carlos, who took his own life.

As they struggle to fill the empty spaces their loved ones left behind, fate conspires to bring them together. Damon takes pictures with Carlos’s camera to try to understand his choices, and Melanie begins painting as a way of feeling closer to her mother. But when the two join their school’s production of Othello, the play they both hoped would be a distraction becomes a test of who they truly are, both together and on their own. And more than anything else, they discover that it just might be possible to live their lives without completely letting go of their sadness.



Publication Date October 20th 2009 by Dutton Juvenile
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The award-winning first novel from the bestselling author of We Are Okay.

In the wake of her best friend Ingrid’s suicide, Caitlin is left alone, struggling to find hope and answers. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind for her, she begins a journey of understanding and broadening her horizons that leads her to new friendships and first love. Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin’s first year without Ingrid to life with emotion, honesty, and captivating writing.



Publication Date September 16th 2014 by Dial Books
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“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways…but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.

The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing — often all at once.



Publication Date February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating straightedge Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returned home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise ― a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into a friendship and soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.



Publication Date March 8th 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers
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Dill isn’t the most popular kid at his rural Tennessee high school. After his father fell from grace in a public scandal that reverberated throughout their small town, Dill became a target. Fortunately, his two fellow misfits and best friends, Travis and Lydia, have his back.

But as they begin their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. His only escapes are music and his secret feelings for Lydia – neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending – one that will rock his life to the core.

Debut novelist Jeff Zentner provides an unblinking and at times comic view of the hard realities of growing up in the Bible belt, and an intimate look at the struggles to find one’s true self in the wreckage of the past.

Title The Beauty That Remains
Author Ashley Woodfolk
Pages 336 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date March 6th 2018 by Delacorte Press
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Told from three diverse points of view, this story of life and love after loss is one Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, calls a “stunning, heart-wrenching look at grief that will stay with you long after you put it down.”

We’ve lost everything…and found ourselves.

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death might pull them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was: a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan has always turned to writing love songs when his real love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan is a guy who can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger who’s struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

Cover Reveal: The Bigfoot Files by Lindsay Eagar

The cover reveals continue this week as I welcome an author and woman I greatly admire, Lindsay Eagar, to Pop! Goes The Reader as we reveal the cover of Lindsay’s forthcoming middle grade novel, The Bigfoot Files! Lindsay is no stranger to the blog, having generously lent her voice to several events on Pop! Goes The Reader in the past, including ‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2015, Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2016 and ‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2016, so I couldn’t have been more excited when she reached out and I was given an opportunity to work with her again! Coming to a bookstore and library near you October 9, 2018 from Candlewick, The Bigfoot Files tells the story of twelve-year-old Miranda Cho, the daughter of a cryptozoologist who attempts to disabuse her mother of her belief in Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Frogman, and the like in order to ensure the pair have a practical, safe and secure future. As an extra special bonus, Lindsay recently spoke with The Bigfoot Files‘s cover designer, Matt Roeser, for an interview that provides a fascinating glimpse into Matt’s artistic process and cover design as a whole! I absolutely loved learning how this and other covers came to be, and I can only hope you will, too!


About Lindsay Eagar

Lindsay Eagar is a good mom on bad writing days and a bad mom on good writing days. She lives in Utah with her husband, her two daughters, and a mountain of books.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

So much attention is given to authors and our work — the ideas that spark whole stories, the drafting process, the woes of revision, and the triumph of a finished manuscript.

But what about the countless others in this industry who take a chunk of words and make it into a tangible, holdable, huggable book? We hear about them so rarely, and yet they are our heroes — cover designers, in particular, are responsible for presenting our potential readers with a single image that sums up our book and entices them to buy.

I have been lucky enough to land the incomparable Matt Roeser for all three of my books with Candlewick Press. This man wins awards for his designs. His style is instantly recognizable — subtle, focused, somehow simplistic while being absolutely original. He also plays with color in a way that feels very timeless.

All three of my covers have, so far, taken my breath away and also felt like the perfect story ending — surprising, beautiful, and inevitable, but that’s the Matt Roeser way. (The Matt Roeser way is also to wake up on a random Tuesday and decide, “Yes, today I think I’ll wear the inflatable T-Rex costume to work.”)

Matt was kind enough to let me pick his brain with a few questions:

Question 1.
What is the very first thing you do when you are assigned a book to create a cover for? Talk me through all the creative steps. Is there a part of the process that is ever hindered by the fact that you are designing this to be a product?

First, I read the book. Within the text of the manuscript is the kernel of what the cover will become. Reading the book is the only way to get the feel for its voice and its tone; what it wants to be. As I’m reading, I take notes on particular scenes, lines, and ideas that come to mind. Then I meet with the editor to hear their thoughts on how they’d like to position the book. I then go play. This involves sketching, googling, and lots of concepting, from big idea stuff down to the specifics of particular typefaces. From the myriad concepts I come up with, I whittle it down to 3 or so that I discuss with my Creative Director. From there, we share it with representatives of different departments in the company and make adjustments until we all love it. 

I actually come from an advertising background. At my previous job, we would rebrand companies and then roll out that messaging and new look across all of their communications. So in a sense, the fact that the book is the main end product designing a cover makes it, in my eyes, a much simpler task. I have to show the essence of the book on the cover and make it enticing for someone to pick up. 

Question 2.
You read the book first when you are assigned to design its cover, and obviously you’re reading FOR specific elements that you can capture in the design, but how does that affect the way you read all books? Do you have a hard time turning off your design brain? 

I tend to gravitate toward books that have nice covers. Unless a book has great reviews or a friend has told me I HAVE to read it, if a book has a bad cover, I will probably pass it by. Because of that, most of the time when I’m reading for fun, it’s a bit easier to turn off my design brain. However, every once in a while when I finish a book, I wonder about possible other designs for the story. I actually got my start in cover design by designing new covers for some of my favorite books for fun, posting them on a tumblr blog that got passed around some design sites and eventually led to real-world work. 

Question 3.
When you got a copy of The Bigfoot Files, what were some of the elements of the book that you wanted to capture in the cover?

Foremost, because of the title and the focus that the idea of Bigfoot plays in the book, I knew there was going to be some representation of the mythic creature on the cover. Because the main heart of the story is about what’s true and what’s not, I knew I wanted to play with the possibility that either character could be correct. The solution was the classic silhouette of Bigfoot but made in the negative space between the leaves of the national park forest (where a majority of the book is set), so he’s sort of there but also looks like he could disappear into the leaves if you looked away for a second.

Question 4.
What are the same aesthetics you keep coming back to, both as a designer and as just a human? What is something you will always stop and take a picture of, every time?

I’m a fan of typography that works effortlessly into a design. Or any design that makes you look twice or stop and think. Also designs that do something different or unexpected that package the book in a way that makes you NEED to have it. 

Question 5.
You haven’t been working in the book industry for decades, but you have been here awhile — what’s different about book design and packaging and production now versus when you started? Is there a particular trend you miss? Or want to go away?

I’ll always prefer a more graphic design approach over a photographic cover any day, so even though photographic covers are not a trend, I would love to do an experiment where all of publishing tries to go a year without using text over a photograph. I would rather save photographs for the movie poster of the book. As for trends, I try to collect all of the printing effects, and one that I haven’t gotten to use yet is glow in the dark ink, so that’s definitely on my list. The jacket design by Rodrigo Corral for Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is the best use of glow in the dark ink ever used, so I feel like I can only use it if it’s as good as an idea as that. 

Question 6.
You also write books, which some would say is creative work. Do you feel like there’s a relationship between your two mediums? How do they feed each other/take away from each other?

I’m a big fan of stories, and I like to think that whether it’s writing a book or designing a cover, I’m telling a bit of a story. Obviously with a book, you have pages and pages to tell a story, and the expectations are that there will be a beginning, middle and end. With a cover design, you just get a moment to hint at the story, but in a way, it’s finding that spark that will catch a reader’s eye and make them want to pick up the book. From there, they can read the flaps and see if the book sounds interesting to them, but if I can excite them for just a moment, that’s equally as rewarding as telling a good story.

Question 7.
Do you have any wisdom to impart to us authors who are always panicking about what our covers will look like? (Side note: never me; I am in good hands and I know it!)

Design is so subjective, so what one person finds appealing might be unappealing to someone else, so it’s natural for an author to worry about what their book (that they’ve spent years writing and visualizing) is going to look like. But just as writers know how to write, and editors know how to edit, designers know what will best showcase an author’s story to the world. The design is also presented to other departments who are all pros in their area, who make sure the book is the best it can be. For example, when I have some concepts, I go talk to the Production department. They’re responsible for getting the book physically made (working with the printing press, choosing papers, finishes, effects, etc.) and they will often make suggestions of how to take a design and improve it by using certain printing effects. Everyone’s goal is to make every book the best book. 

Question 8.
What are you reading right now? What did you just finish that you loved? What are you going to read next? 

I’m currently reading The Witches of New York by Ami McKay, which combines many of the things I love: old timey New York city, magic, and great characters. Up next is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, because I’ve been dying to read it forever. I love nonfiction as well, and just finished Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure which was beautiful and inspiring and makes me want to go on an expedition.

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Thank you so much to Matt, for answering my questions, and for designing the most perfect cover for my next middle grade. Seriously, it takes an extremely talented designer to read a book that is about mothers and daughters, cryptozoology, a national forest in Washington, magic, and heartbreak, and somehow combine that into one image that captures it all.

Here’s where you can find Matt online for pretty designs and pop culture hilarity:
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Title The Bigfoot Files
Author Lindsay Eagar
Pages 384 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Light Fantasy
To Be Published October 9, 2018 by Candlewick
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Twelve-year-old Miranda Cho used to love being the daughter of a cryptozoologist, tagging along on monster hunts and gasping over every footprint, every bit of evidence that Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster, or the Frogman was hiding just around the corner. But that was before Miranda found the stack of unopened bills and the notice of foreclosure in the silverware drawer. Now her mom’s job doesn’t seem wonderful — it seems embarrassing and dangerously irresponsible. So Miranda agrees to go on one last creature hunt, determined to use all her scientific know-how to prove to her mother that Bigfoot doesn’t exist. Then her mom will have no choice but to grow up and get a real job, one that will pay the mortgage and allow Miranda to attend the leadership camp of her dreams. But when the trip goes horribly awry, will it be Miranda who is forced to question everything she believes?

From the author of Hour of the Bees comes another unforgettable story that deftly blurs the line between reality and magic — and will leave you wondering What if?