There are things you learn about publishing when you work in a bookstore for four years. One of them that gets beaten into your head, over and over again: the author has no input on the cover. That's what publishers have art departments and designers to do. Y'know: professionals.
Good covers – or bad ones! – aren't the author's decision.
But I still couldn't help, at the end of my first phone call with Cheryl Klein, who would become my editor two weeks later, asking: So, what would you do with it? Editorially. And with the cover.
What she described was understated, and beautiful, and more like the beautiful matte black winged cover for Holly Black's TITHE than what I'd seen in my head. And the idea caught at me a little, and I got to liking it. So a whole year later, in March 2011, when an e-mail titled Above Jacket landed in my inbox? That's what I was expecting.
What I got literally took my breath away.
The first thing I saw was light. And the second was wings. And the third was the CN Tower – the sorta-skyline of my hometown, my city which I love – rising up into the distance.
And…here's the funny thing about that tower on the cover.
The artist who created ABOVE's cover is Nathalia Suellen, who's in her early twenties and based out of Brazil. And when I gushed about that CN Tower, Cheryl said, I don't think the designer told her you live in Toronto. Which means I'm pretty sure she came up with that tower all on her own. Cosmic, no?
For all the coincidences to happen on your very first novel cover? Cosmic is about right.
And I admit: Every time I see that thing, it still strikes me breathless.
Incidentally, Nathalia's portfolio has an early-draft version of the cover posted; it's almost younger, rounder, and more middle-grade. A fun look into the creative process on the other side of the desk!