Several months ago, I read two short stories by Nancy Christie. If you follow my blog, you will know what I thought of “Annabelle” and “Alice in Wonderland”! They are a pair of beautifully written, well-crafted stories which have stayed in my mind since I read them.
I was delighted when I heard that this talented author is going to publish a collection of stories later this year and felt privileged when Nancy Christie contacted me to ask if I would like to take part in the cover reveal for “Traveling Left of Center.”
I would like to welcome Nancy Christie to “Fantastic Books” and I hand over to her to reveal erthe deliberations that she made over her choice of cover for her new book:
Choosing the artwork for TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER was no simple thing. This collection represents the culmination of hopes and dreams, long hours of labor and even longer hours of doubt.It was essential that the cover image conveyed the emotion of the stories and, at the same time, hinted at the mysteriousness of choice; why we do what we do, and what happens when our choices turn out to be less than wise. And when my publisher, Pixel Hall Press , presented me with this haunting painting, there was no question in my mind that it was the right one for this collection.
And to celebrate, I asked Angela Thomas of Fantastic Books blog, along with a few other select bloggers, to share in a virtual “cover reveal” party – and she was kind enough to agree. In return, I promised to provide some background information about the image and the challenge of finding a visual representation of a story.
So here it is—the backstory about the cover for TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER!
What does the cover represent?
If you think of life as a road, then as long as you stay in your own lane, so to speak, you have a good chance of reaching your destination. But if you cross the center line—because of inattention, confusion or deliberate action—then you run the risk of crashing.
Crashing into another “vehicle” and causing harm to one or both of you. Crashing into an immovable object and being grievously injured or possibly destroyed. Or, best case scenario for a bad situation, almost crashing and then, at the very last moment, pulling hard on the wheel and getting back to where you need to be. And then, after wiping your brow and taking a few deep breaths, doing your utmost to stay there.
The stories in TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER depict those types of situations, from the close calls to the disastrous.
Yes— and no. It’s true that not all the stories have happy endings—like life, sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t.
But look closely at the image—follow the road through the trees to the farthest point. See the sunlight glancing through the limbs in the distance? Light—and hope. Darkness—yet with the promise of daylight.
Where did the idea of the image come from?
In the collection there is a lighthearted story entitled “Traveling Left of Center.” And when I was putting the collection together to shop it to agents and publishers and needed a title, that seemed to be so right, so perfect, that I couldn’t imagine any other name for it. Which, of course, then led to the image for the as-yet unpublished book.
Not being a visual person, I have never found it easy to imagine the cover for any of my books— from my first one, THE GIFTS OF CHANGE, to the last two short fiction e-books, ANNABELLE and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. You might say I am picture-challenged!
But in this case, I knew exactly what I wanted as the single unifying picture. As a matter fact, long ago I had even drawn (quite poorly, I might add) my version of the cover: a single lane highway and crossing it from right to left, a set of skid marks.
I shared the image concept with my publisher and after a few revisions (I can be a bit anal about type) we successfully “birthed” this book cover!
So what are the stories?
Ah, for that, you must wait, with bated breath, until August, when the book will be out in both print and digital format. But, in the meantime, if you must have a taste of TRAVELING, visit the Pixel Hall Press website where you will find excerpts of both ANNABELLE and ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
My thanks to those of you who came to the cover reveal party and Angela who made it happen! For more information and to stay on top of what’s happening with TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER, follow me on Twitter at @ NChristie_OH!