Tag Archives: The Turn cover

So Kim, what does T-4 stand for?

Did you know that this year, on Halloween, it will be the 50th anniversary of the Turn? I think I’m going to have a little party and celebrate. It’s been over a decade, over two and a half million words on this world alone, and though I tried to say good-bye, clearly that didn’t happen.

But in all the interviews over the years, no one has ever asked where the name T4-Angel originated from. It came from my writer’s critique group almost twenty years ago, when one of the other members began waxing eloquently about a bible verse he was incorporating into his thriller. (Yes, that means you, Craig!) “And the fourth angel poured his vial onto the sun, and it became as sack cloth.” T4-angel was born.

The image haunted me, and so at long last, I give you, The Turn

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I think this will be one of my favorite covers, maybe because I took more of a hand in it than any other cover I’ve ever had to do before. The original before my tweaking was fantastically beautiful, but those who know the Hollows know she is beautiful only on the surface. She is harsh, unforgiving, dark, and can kill you even if you are careful. But I’m not going to give you bad unless I bracket it by an equal or excessive amount of good, hence Ivy, a true friend struggling with addiction, Jenks, loyal to a fault even as he deals with his wife’s death and his children moving on, and Rachel, who has a heart bigger than the bankrolls of those she faces and is often her own worst enemy.

So I love this cover, with equal amounts of beauty and ugly. It’s a fairytale, not where the prince carries the princess off to his castle, though you can kind of see that at the end if you squint really hard. It’s a fairytale where toes are cut off to fit in slippers, and children are abandoned in the woods to die of exposure. It’s death, and sacrifice, and heartache, and hope.

And I think you’ll enjoy it.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Want a chance to win an ARC of The Turn? Send Tim an email at <coldtoastwritingsllc@comcast.net> by Friday (11/30), midnight, EST, with “Tomato” and the number of pumpkins you think I’m going to get out of my pumpkin patch this year in the subject line. i.e. Tomato42

We won’t be reading them, but we will squirrel your answers away, and when I harvest, I’ll draw names from those readers who guess right. So use an email address we can reach you at come October.

AugustPumpkins1

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The Hollows is often shelved in horror

Today, I give you my favorite element on the cover. It’s one that I asked for when my editor and I first began talking about what should be on it, the star of the entire show, the T4-Angel tomato, savor of the third world, genetically engineered to withstand drought, cracking, pesticides, and grow tall without staking. It’s truly a scientific marvel of the sixties, and I think it’s a wish fulfillment of me not being able to grow tomatoes well.

Until . . . a governmental virus escapes and spontaneously attaches to it and kills a quarter of the world’s population.

This we know. The truth . . . is a little different, and Trent’s parents are involved up to their little pointy, docked ears.

So I asked for a tomato on the cover, and I got it, but someone had the idea that it was a magical tomato, and had put magical radiating lines coming out from it. It looked great, but the feeling of a magical tomato wasn’t doing it for me. This was the destruction of the third world and the beginning of the Turn in her hands, and it wasn’t magical, it was horrifying. So I doubled down and asked for the “magic lines” to be removed and for the tomato to be black and decaying, putrefying in Trent’s mom’s hands. I wanted to make a ugly, horrifying image to contrast with the flowing beauty of Trisk herself.  I think I got it.

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I’ll give you the entire cover tomorrow with an explanation of my idea of what makes a good fairytale, but if you want it tonight at midnight eastern time, sign up for my newsletter. They’re getting it first.

Kim’s Newsletter

 

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A cover should have continuity

Part three in the evolution of a cover: the title

It’s a small thing, and you might not even be consciously aware of it, but most of the Hollows books use the same font for the title and author name. It has to do with name branding, and the first cover image I saw had the title and author in a thin font with swooping, graceful lines–extensions looping down and out along with sharp points sticking out here and there. It was beautiful, especially with the billowing dress blowing up and around to her elbows, but having both swoops and spikes was confusing. It was nothing like the thick, straight up and down, almost columnar font everyone identifies the Hollows with.  I wanted you guys to know it was me so you’d, er, pick it up, so I asked if we could have something more familiar.

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It’s not a perfect match, but I wasn’t looking for perfection. I just wanted something harsher with straight lines without the swooping arcs confusing the feel. I got something kind of Gothy with a sword point, and I like it. If you look close in the larger picture, you can see that the author name looks very close to the previous titles. It feels comfortable and recognizable.

Okay, the tag line. “The Hollows Begins with Death.” The original idea was to have a tagline that reassured readers that this was a Hollows book, so I came up with the full line “Even the Hollows has an untold beginning . . . and it begins with death.” I’m glad they shortened it for the cover, but wow, it sounds kind of dramatic for me. Death. Yeah. Swords and pitchforks. (grin) But yes. You don’t kill off a quarter of the world’s population without mentioning death.

Tomorrow, I give you what she’s holding. It was my idea, and I hope it adds to the feeling I was aiming for. Sometimes my ideas don’t come across well, especially to those not already invested in the series. A tomato kills the world. Ah, yes. It could happen. Let me tell you how.

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A cover should be art

What sucks you into a cover and makes you pick it up? The cover artists, if they are worth their salt, know  what has worked in the past and what hasn’t as well as the current trends. It can be as simple as a horror novel having a light on in the dark house sitting on the hill, or as complex as a beautiful expression of art that speaks across the demographics.

Me, I like the cover that uses art along with all the other tricks of the trade, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of art. It could be as simple as an arm that drapes to draw your eye down to the title, or the shadow without the body that leaves you wondering where the shadow-caster is. Art makes you think, art makes you question, shows you connections that are there only in your mind. Art is a magician. So when I saw my cover for the first time, I was breathless with the high contrast between the main figure and the stark, icy background. It speaks on many levels–it is art.

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Is there snow in THE TURN? No. Is there even a woods? No, and I can’t work either into the story as I did the helix necklace. Do I care? Absolutely not, because even if the snowy woods is simply there because it makes a nice white background to show off red dress to a better advantage, to me, the snow is an expression of the stark emptiness facing the world if Trisk should fail in her cross country trek. It is the silent purity of nothing broken by wind and ice. A glittering sparkle in the sun hiding death in the night, bitter on the skin, even as it is beautiful. (Maybe this is why I like the snow.)

It’s art, even if it wasn’t meant to be, and the only thing I asked of my editor of this cover element was could we have more snow, less billowy dress, because the snow spoke of the pure, clean image of death that dogs Trisk’s path, and the billowy dress–which I’ll show more of tomorrow–didn’t.

If you are a member of Goodreads and check “want to read” THE TURN, you’ll get notices when THE TURN is published and if any extras are released.

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