Risking shameless self-promotion, we bring you this story of how the cover to our book GOING GYPSY came to be.
Going Gypsy is now available!
We’ll talk about that in a minute, but first I want to tell you the story about the cover.
A few days after we heard from Skyhorse Publishing that they wanted to publish our book, we were still (and still are) pinching ourselves as we boarded a plane to Europe. It was pretty much all I could
think worry about.
An idea for our book cover popped into my head as I was “sleeping” 30,000 feet above the Arctic (quotes are used as I was on a plane and real sleep isn’t possible). You know how the drill:
Reenactment: In reality I was wedged in a middle seat, not luxuriously sprawled as these photos depict!
Excited that my thought-tumbling/worrying had worked in my favor for a change, I grabbed what was available — a cocktail napkin and a Sharpie — and painstakingly drew a stick-figure rendition of what had been knocking around in my jangled head.
Excited, I woke David (who was also “sleeping” and in no mood for my shenanigans) and presented my masterpiece:
“It looks like I’m flipping you off.”
Followed by, “Don’t you ever show that to anyone.”
I sulked, stuffed it in my backpack, and went back to “sleep.”
Fast-forward a fortnight and we’re in NYC to spend the holidays with The Spawn.
While there, we visited Skyhorse’s Manhattan offices for the first time. In the skyscraper’s elevator — jet-lagged out of our brains — we were giddy with the surrealness of it all. Prior to this meeting, everything had been handled via e-mail and, though we had already formed a good working relationship with our editor, the fabulous Jenny Pierson, we had never met face-to-face.
Jenny greeted us at the elevator, led us to her office, and, after some getting-to-know-you-in-person niceties, she asked us if we had thought about the book’s cover.
I could feel David shooting darts at me as I said, “Actually, yes.”
Whipping my fantastically awful doodle from where it had been getting crumpled in my backpack, I could see David scanning the room and looking for the nearest exit out of the corner of my eye.
Poor guy, this was not how he had envisioned our first meeting with our editor — at all. We were (still are) in that we-can’t-believe-we’re-actually-going-to-have-our-book-published phase, and was it too much to ask his cowriter not to act like a doofus? Magical thinking at its finest.
Visions of Jenny bolting out of her office whilst screaming danced through his head.
Instead, she asked to keep it. I was convinced she actually liked it and was pretty proud of myself as an artist. It’s kind of Picassoesque, right? My delusions of grandeur were flowing like water down a river of whimsy.
By the next morning, David had me convinced that Jenny had shown it around the office and it was destined to become Skyhorse’s latest viral e-mail joke (not that Jenny — or anyone else — at Skyhorse would actually do that, but we were paranoid enough to think it, nonetheless).
Thankfully, minutes later, we received this from Jenny:
You made my designer friend’s day today when I told her I wanted her to make the cover look like “this” and showed her the napkin. We love it.
She may have saved my marriage of thirty-one years with that little note.
We booked a photo shoot immediately (huge thanks to über-photographer Nick Coleman for spending Christmas Eve shooting us and for picking up on the concept right away — I had left the now-infamous napkin with Jenny and couldn’t redraw it in its proper glory for the life of me).
In order to get the correct angle for the shot, the incredibly nimble Nick needed to climb to the top of a twenty-foot ladder and wedge himself up against the ceiling of his studio. This made it easy for me to come up with the look of fear needed on my end — I was petrified Nick was going to fall off the ladder and meet his demise!
A few months later, while we were in Costa Rica, we received this from Skyhorse:
You should have seen us happy dancing around like idiots in our hotel room! We LOVED it!
But, wait, there’s more!
Three months later, as we were visiting family in the States, we received yet another surprise from Skyhorse – we had no idea this was coming!
We are so honored that the incredibly talented Danielle Ceccolini agreed to lend her original work to our book jacket – look what she created for us:
I, no we, feel beyond blessed that someone of Ms. Ceccolini’s caliber could take our goofy little sleep-deprived, airplane-napkin doodle and turn it into an incredible work of art!
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YOUR TURN: Could life be any grander? Could we be any goofier? Do you love our cover as much as we do?