Thursday, February 28, 2013

HILD cover reveal

This is the cover of my novel Hild, which will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 12 November 2013. (Why, yes, that is 11.12.13.)

I love it.

  • Cover designer: Charlotte Strick (art editor of the Paris Review, art director at Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
  • Cover artists: Anna and Elena Balbusso (multiple award-winning Italian twin sisters who have done some cracking work illustrating classics by people like Pushkin and Atwood).
This, obviously, is a JPEG so the colours are a wee bit unreliable. The physical object, though, will be stunning: uncoated, textured coverstock with the main title in gleaming gold. Drop-dead gorgeous.

I love the way Hild looks directly at her audience, utterly self-contained. I particularly admire the Botticelli-like face, and her hair, which is the exact shade of chestnut I'd imagined.
So, as I say, I love this cover—which is a miracle considering I had only one suggestion regarding the illustration: No representation of Hild! My editor, Sean McDonald (who has been my editor since Stay and, for some reason, seems to think I'm worth the aggravation) sighed and said, basically, The book's called HILD. She needs to be on the jacket.

I got a bit definite. No, I said. The novel starts with Hild aged 3. It closes with her aged 19. And she's a singular girl-woman who lives at the very edges of the constraints of her time—but is still constrained. How the fuck are you going to convey that? No. Absolutely not.

The response? The magisterial silence of an Editor Who Knows Best.

And, the thing is, in this regard he's right. Hild is in every single scene of this 200,000-word novel (though not every scene is from her point of view). She is the book; the book is her. She has to be on the cover. Just because that's impossible doesn't mean we shouldn't try do it anyway. After all, that's what I did in the writing. Why not in the illustration?

So in the end I explained how I wanted the cover to look—lush, forceful, dangerous (the way the weather is dangerous), stern, rich, luxurious, spare, clear, and other (often paradoxical; Hild's like that) things I don't remember—and put it from my mind.

And then I got this. A girl-woman with the thousand-yard stare of someone who has faced death and made terrible decisions since the age of eight, who looks out with the clarity of one who knows life is an undiscovered country full of joy and patterns to be understood. She was born in very difficult circumstances and survives because she has an extraordinary mind and a will of adamant.

What do you think?

Print

45 comments:

  1. Epic. Can't wait to hear her story.

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  2. Oh, I love that cover! Can't wait to have a printed copy. :)

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  3. I think it's fabulous.

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  4. I think it's great and also can't wait to read it.

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  5. This is going to be SO GOOD!!!!

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  6. Oh, this is going to be SO good!!! I can't wait!

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  7. Hild looks great and now 'fess up: did you check to see if they spelt your name right?

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    1. I checked everything. My name was originally in a typeface I didn't like. So we changed it to what you see here.

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  8. It's eye-catching and lovely, not overpowering or underwhelming. And it looks...historical. A job well done, for sure.

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  9. Have been following your research over the last year and thought each time, "Hummmm. A most interesting endeavor." The lush though spare, gorgeous though restrained cover is going to be just perfect for the book I have in mind. I particularly like the color. Not the deep blue I had anticipated. Brava.

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    1. It's possible that there will be some indigo added to the cloud/shadow, but, yes, essentially this is it.

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  10. Stunning! Fantastic! Thanks for answering my question. I love that story. Of course, you know this is on my automatic-buy list. Looking forward to being immersed in Hild's world. I have a hunch you will be a fantastic tour guide.

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    1. My pleasure. I'm looking forward to hosting your tour...

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  11. WANT! And yet another reason why E-readers will never ever completely replace the gorgeousness that can be a printed book. Can not WAIT! Congrats Nicola on another beaut!

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    1. If it were up to me, publishers would bundle the digital and print books so we could have both at a reduced rate.

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    2. That would be excellent, since likely Donna and I will buy both anyway.

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  12. Love the cover (and your blog!) and can't wait to pick up a copy of HILD.

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    1. There's lots more Hild-related stuff coming up!

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  13. I fucking love it!! Pretty much all of it. The face, the stare, the hair, all of it. I love the birds up in the trees and the moon and stars. And the way her seax is in front of the type - nice touch. The dot of the i.

    Best cover ever. And I was worried that I'd hate it. :)

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    1. I know. They got so much right. It's really thrilling.

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  14. There's a bit of Leo and Diane Dillon in this. Marvelous.

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  15. I'm really happy for you and can only imagine your excitement. I have no doubt this offering will be superb. Congratulations.

    jeanne

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  16. Drop dead gorgeous indeed and the eyes of a saint to boot... It's beautiful.

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  17. Just seeing this now: It's so PURTY!

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  18. Brava! So pleased for you and for Hild.

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  19. PS from woody.I see you in the face of Hild. Subtle, but there. My fantasy?

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    1. You're the fourth person to say that. I think I'm going to have to write a blog post...

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  20. I think I want to read this book now. The more you describe it, your complete passion for Hild, the strong and ethereal cover its all making me excited to read her story.

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    1. Well, ARCs will be available at the end of March. Perhaps there'll be a giveaway or something. I'm not sure yet.

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  21. When artist and writer collaborate this well on a single vision, it's much like how instrumentalists in a tight band make music. All enhancing one sound creation. What a joy! ... and in this case, what a beautiful vision. Congratulations.

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    1. Thank you.

      I've fronted a band and sung in choirs and, oh, that moment of synchrony between the makers of music and then the audience...

      I won't get an audience until November. Drives me crazy to wait!

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  22. It's lovely, the colortheme on the background really makes her face stand out. Very dramatic!
    //Tina

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    1. I think the colours on the physical object will be vivid, lush, attractive. And, yep, her face will stand out even more. It's all about the face...

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  23. Looks great. I'll have money set aside for the book as soon as it is published. It's so different from your others, but that means I'm curious to see what it will be like.

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    1. It is and is not different. Different era, for sure. But the concerns are the same: the body, the world, the fit between the two...

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  24. I really like it. Very good.

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    1. Yep. I think it's very cool. Even cooler: the artists are now pondering painting a backad...

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