Friday, September 06, 2019

All The Impossible Things

Published this week - on the same day as 'Out To Get You' - was this beautiful debut novel by Lindsay Lackey, whose cover I worked on last year.

I met Lindsay for a pint/cupatea in London in May, and I learned all about the mammoth effort involved in taking a book from idea in the middle of the night to a published reality. We all see best-selling books which seem to just pop out fully formed - the Stephen Kings, Dan Browns, the Andy McNabbs and Sophie Kinsellas - the next one in the series hitting shelves with what looks like an easy regularity.

But it was probably JK Rowling who first drew the curtain back on the enormous amount of work and dedication - you might even say belligerence - that turns a book from a nice aspiration to a saleable product. Her story of writing in an Edinburgh café with baby in tow, making a single coffee last for hours, have passed into legend and become part of the canon of literary history. That she then had the first HP novel rejected so many times is also part of that story, and since then, story after story has appeared of novels being written on buses, after the kids have gone to bed, between shifts and after class. Lindsay's was no different - a long, patient road to finishing a WHOLE book, then finding an agent, then the journey to publishing.

Lindsay's currently hash tagging 'NotMyImpossible', encouraging people to share their own stories of a struggle to overcome something - the thing in their lives that seemed impossible to build, achieve, overcome or solve, starting with her own history of a jaw condition that left her in daily, almost unbearable pain. Throughout it, and despite it, she wrote her novel anyway, and little by little - 'little' being sugary physiotherapy and dietary changes - she came to where she is now: pain free, and with a first published novel on the shelves.

The story itself is "a tearful, heartfelt, hope-filled tale of an eleven-year-old girl navigating the foster care system in search of a place to call home. Lackey’s soaring debut reminds us that family can be found in surprising places and love can achieve the impossible" (borrowing from the perfectly summary by Goodreads' Hannah Greendale). The cover needed to be magical, aspirational, but with a hint of the serious nature of the story arc. Many versions of the cover lettering were created, a mixture of letters created on my iPad with Procreate, and ink on paper solutions. The final, star-scattered one seen here is a combination of 'real' ink with digital stars, laid over designer Elizabeth Clark's shimmering background imagery. Just how many versions there were I lost count of - but I like to offer PLENTY of options!

You can see the finished book, printed CMYK on pearlescent paper, at the bottom. 

The work was commissioned by Elizabeth Clark, Macmillan USA.

And you can buy the book in the UK here, or in the US here.

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