Aha! Here we have the chapter where the scene from the cover occurs at last. Interestingly enough, this was one of the last scenes I added to the book–if not the last. I added the specific Bigot Gang scenes when I wanted to make the racism conflict more real and immediate to Tomas, as opposed to the general feeling of resentment that the conflict was in the first few passes. And since I added them in chronologically, the scene where he finally whups ’em came last. (Even then, I didn’t have this scene right away. Believe it or not, originally there was no “finally whups ’em” scene. Because when you get right down to it, even now, he hasn’t beaten them for good. If I ever get to write a sequel, you know that the Bigot Gang is still there–and sporting burns of their own now. I’ve got to be thinking they’re planning some revenge, and they’re on to the fact that Tomas is capable of some pretty fishy stuff now. I’d really like to show what they do with those suspicions and that heightened level of resentment . . . )
So anyway. Work on the cover began while the book was still getting edited. The designer, Isaac Stewart, actually did an excellent write up of the process over on Tu’s site. Allow me to link to it for your reading pleasure–here and here.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said it elsewhere, but I’ll say it again here: I’m really happy with the way the cover turned out. I think it’s pretty interesting that some reviews of the book have praised the cover, and others have really disliked it. Just shows what a difference of taste can do for a review, and how subjective a lot of reviews are in general. (My take on reviews is simple: find a reviewer whose tastes mirror your own as closely as possible. Then listen to him or her. Ignore the others. Rottentomatoes and Metacritic and the like are all fine and good, but what’s the use in knowing 95% of reviewers hated a movie if you turn out to love it? I feel like those review aggregators give a false sense of “Being Right.” They give their rubber stamp of approval or disapproval, and that can really kill a film. Sometimes I ignore reviews on purpose. That’s in film, but I think the same principle carries over to books, as well.)
I was allowed to participate quite a bit in the cover design process, something which not many authors get to do. A lot of the time, you’re just told what your cover will look like. You can object and really put up a stink if you loathe it, but even then, it’s no guarantee that they’ll change it. It helped that I know Isaac very well and trust his judgement impeccably. 🙂 I think the final result is eye-catching, representative of the book, and looks cool to boot. I hope you do, too.