Red Tears remains one of my favourite book covers, and dealt with the harrowing subject of self-harming in an extremely sensitive way but without sentimentalising it, and certainly without hiding from the grim realities of the subject. It pre-dates the blog, so has never featured anywhere till today.
Written by Joanne Kenrick - now Jo Cotterill - this was the first time I’d been entrusted with a ‘serious’ subject - I’d been doing masses of chick-lit and adult female fiction, so I suppose this was my early taste of teen fiction. Although, I had done a cover for Naomi Wolf which sadly became a photograph in the end!
I was determined not to make it maudlin or off-putting, and it definitely couldn’t be too graphic. I played with several ideas, starting rather abstract, using the ink to try to represent a swirling mass of concentric feelings, and then fairly quickly we settled on the one with the back background. The hints are there, but they’re very subtle, and the black lends the book a definite gravity. I was trying to suggest too the connectivity of everything - the way problems and issues and feelings and events all ball up together and become impossible to disentangle, till you can’t see the wood for the trees.
It was published in 2007.
Many years later I am happy to have united Jo with her original artwork this week, most of which she’d never seen, in return, this time, for a donation to our chosen charity Mind. The artwork will be living at her house now! Which only feels right.