Okay, sabbatical over. I retreated to finish the sequel to The Treeman…and The River Girl is finally complete! Expect launch at the end of February 2014 (cross my heart).
At long last, I’m free to dip my toes back into the world of blogging – it all feels a bit nippy, like paddling in the sea on a winter’s day. You roll your jeans up with that gleam in your eye, knowing you’ll get wet and chilly – but you can’t resist. Besides, summer’s on its way.
See? I’m an optimistic paddler.
So in advance, here it is. The cover art for The River Girl. Stunning eh? Yeah, I know I’m biased, but she is beautiful isn’t she? She’s not afraid of paddling as you can see.
The designer Michael Horne is a genius and great guy – his patience knows no bounds (follow on twitter: @recantha – profile: https://twitter.com/recantha).
Not only did we throw away the first beloved concept (the initial photo cost a small fortune), but on finding another image, Michael had to put up with a fussy author. You know the kind of thing, ‘Wouldn’t it look great if…?’ Thank you Michael for never – not even once – screaming at me. I suspect you may have screamed at the wall occasionally, but you were kind enough not to let me know.
The end result is a scene from the book – it doesn’t get cooler than that. And I love the fact that this cover leaves the look of the girl to the imagination. Which for this story, is so important – if you read it, you’ll understand why. Her identity belongs to you, not me. Hence the tagline:
Whoever you want her to be…
Which started me thinking about why we love to read. It opens up new worlds, but TV, film, theatre and computer games all transport you too. You can leap into any scenario you desire. We’re not dependent on scheduling or tickets any more, as all these options are just a click away. Even theatre is being filmed now and I love having choice at my fingertips. So surely we don’t need written stories with all these other temptations?
Except that a book relies on the imagination of the individual, just like a mysterious cover. No matter how well described, each reader will visualise the story in their own way. Which makes it personal.
A book belongs to the writer in terms of copyright and ownership, but it’s still a creative partnership. Together, the writer and reader develop a world inside the reader’s head. And each reader’s perception of the work is original and intimate. A book is a hundred, or a thousand or even a million different worlds, depending on how many people open that cover and read.
Now that’s a powerful medium.
I shiver with excitement (and trepidation) every time someone tells me they’re about to read The Treeman. I’ll never see what they see in the words – but imagining the world they might create is a heady experience. Ah, the delicate ego of the writer – such a frail little thing. Often carried out to sea when it tries to paddle…!
And here I am again. My new start, with a new cover to draw you in and a new book to open the world you want to create.
May The River Girl tempt you and delight you. She’s quite a girl – but it’s entirely up to you what she looks like…
Read more about The River Girl here.