About a year ago, we approached Matthew Turner, beloved family member and gifted graphic designer, to do the cover. Before he started work, he wanted a few details:
Who was our audience? (21st century young adults who might once have read Nancy Drew.)
What was the storyline? (Ann Lippens, struggling high school student, not as clever or blessed as Nancy Drew, has to solve the mystery behind a series of terrible, suspicious murders before her friend becomes a victim, too.)
Was there anything specific we wanted as an image? (Yep. The cover had to feature an antique locket with a girl's face at the center. The locket is a vital part of our story. There had to be discrete sprinkles of blood on or near the locket. Mostly because, once upon a time, a YA publisher offered us a contract but told us we'd never be allowed to put the smallest drop of blood on any of THEIR covers.)
Did we pay by-the-hour or per job? (We offered Taco Bell wages. We really did. One meal before the job, one meal after the job, Cinnamon Twists for dessert if we love the finished product.)
As you can see from above, Mr. T. earned his Cinnamon Twists. Not only did he nail what we asked for, he went above and beyond. Using ancient computer magicks, he created the wood grain face of the cover. Then he put more hours into the production, creating a "wood burn" effect for the title itself. We were delighted.
This is the new cover...
Plus, y'know, those Cinnamon Twists haven't gotten any cheaper over time.
So, Renée rolled up her sleeves and went to work. We've already heard the audio edition and (like all proud parents) we love our new baby. One thing we discovered was, when a manuscript is read out loud, the drama gets ramped up. So Renée wanted a more dramatic cover: a little less Nancy Drew, a little more action-packed. "Let's play up some of the stronger elements of the story," she told her partner. "The graveyard scene. The huge fire. The dead girl, talking to Ann."
"Sounds good," Harrell said. "But it also sounds like a lot of work."
"Will I have to do any of it?"
"I think we should go with a new cover," he said.
And so we have. Hope you like it.