Today, I’m excited to reveal the cover for SKY JUMPERS (Random House, Fall 2013), Peggy Eddleman’s action-packed middle grade debut. And I’ve got an exclusive interview with the cover designer, Owen Richardson! Without further ado, here’s the interview! Scroll down to read the synopsis, check out the cover and enter to win SKY JUMPERS!
What usually inspires your vision for a book cover? How much direction on the look of the cover do you normally get from a publisher before you begin?
The look and feel of the cover comes right from the author and the book’s setting. This is where the real inspiration comes from. My job is to create a narrative image that not only tells something about the story and where it is set, but also considers what will appeal to the target audience. Usually, discussions between the editors, the marketing department, and art designers have already been had and they’ve made decisions as to how the book is to be promoted. Based on those decisions, they pick an artist whose style fits that angle. Because I have been selected because for my look and style, it’s then a matter of finding inspiration in the material itself and going to town, as it were.
Every cover is different. I have worked on covers where the designers have no ideas at all and ask me to go wild and have fun conceptually. Other covers come with a very specific scene in mind.
How did you come up with the idea for the cover of SKY JUMPERS?
Sky Jumpers was one of those cases where the design had already been worked out and they had a clear idea as to what they wanted to see on the cover. The cover concept had already been through a couple of revisions, and they knew what the wanted to see. I was inspired by the rich and dramatic scene of flight on the Bomb’s Breath. The dizzying sense of vertigo juxtaposed with an exhilarating feeling of freedom.
Did the idea come immediately, or did you create several concept sketches first?
In my mind’s eye, I saw the image immediately and vividly, just as you see it. The only change I made to the scene was the direction to shift the color palette a bit. Otherwise it came out fully formed. One sketch was all it took. I barely bothered with black and white thumbnail sketches, and this only to get a sense of basic composition (where the main focus is to be and how the viewer’s eye should flow and explore the picture) and I went directly to color. It is exciting when that happens, and I believe when it does, the thrill I feel in the creation of the piece comes through.
We know authors go through multiple drafts writing a book before it’s final. How many “drafts” do you normally go through on a cover before it’s final?
Every project is different. Some cover illustrations go though many revisions. I am working on a cover that is now in its fifth round of completely different cover concepts. I think a lot is riding on that title, and many oars are in the water.
Sky Jumpers had already been through the exercise of hammering out the concept and required of me, as I said, only a minor revision to the color palette and an adjustment between ponytail and braid. With very few exceptions, I find art direction makes for a much better piece. A good art director / designer will bring objective, fresh eyes to a picture I’ve been staring at for dozens of hours. A fresh artistic perspective with an eye to marketing the book right and keeping the image in correct editorial step is invaluable. I’m lucky to have worked with the best on Sky Jumpers.
What’s it like to go into a bookstore and see your covers?
It’s a thrill, truly. I love books, and I have all my life. I have been inspired and transported countless times by books and by the vivid images within the pages as well as on the covers. To take part in that process has always been a dream of mine. A couple years ago, I went into a Barnes and Noble and was stunned by no less than three free-standing cardboard displays all featuring my art and displaying the books for which I created covers. It felt like I was at the opening of a one-man gallery show! A literal dream come true, for me.
Thanks for stopping by, Owen!
About SKY JUMPERS:
Twelve-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.
But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath— the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in— than fail at yet another invention.
When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help. Inventing won’t help them, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.
Peggy Eddleman lives at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah with her three hilarious and fun kids (two sons and a daughter), and her incredibly supportive husband. Besides writing, Peggy enjoys playing laser tag with her family, making dinner, reading to her kids, toilet papering friends’ houses, doing cartwheels in long hallways, trying new restaurants, and occasionally painting murals on walls. SKY JUMPERS is her debut novel.
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And now for the giveaway! Peggy was generous enough to donate a copy of SKY JUMPERS to one lucky US winner! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!
Peggy is giving away two more books! For more chances to win, go to peggyeddleman.blogspot.com