Author Shelley Coriell on the Magic of Cover Making
In my debut contemp novel WELCOME, CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE – I describe my main character, Chloe, as a sixteen-year-old radio talk show host with a huge collection of vintage shoes and “red-orange hair, as soft and wavy as a handful of poppy petals.” That’s it. Nothing else.
Chloe, who is strong, self-confident, and comfortable in her own “skin” – is such a different YA protag, and her story is very different than many YAs on shelves today. As most authors are prone to do, I worried (okay, obsessed) over what kind of cover I would get, especially with the limited physical description I gave. I knew a girls-in-gowns type cover wouldn’t fly, and I couldn’t visualize a half face or random body part.
So imagine my shock when I first saw the cover comps from the design team at Amulet who absolutely nailed Chloe and her story. Like Chloe, all of the cover comps were different, bold, bright, and in-your-face. And that mouth is spot on. I can hear her say, “Welcome, caller, this is Chloe. What’s on your heart tonight?”
(Photos courtesy of Amulet Books/Abrams)
Early on, the Amulet design team decided to use a real girl on the cover, not an illustration, something that thrilled me as an author. This is a contemporary YA about a real girl with real problems. The book surprises many people in that it isn’t “light and fluffy” as the people in Chloe’s world deal with serious issues such as Parkinson’s and drug addiction.
Amulet performed a model search, thumbing through hundreds of portfolios looking for a teen-aged, red-headed model who could also pull off the vintage vibe that runs through the book.
They found teen model Taylor Adkins in Atlanta, Georgia, and flew her to New York for an audition. After meeting her, the design team knew she was the perfect “Chloe.” Taylor flew
a second time to New York where designer Maria Middleton, photographer Jonathan Beckerman, and the Amulet team worked their magic.
Middleton said they hired two talented hair and makeup artists and solicited some great vintage clothes from fashionistas in the office. “Viola! Chloe!”
(Photos courtesy of Jonathan Beckerman)
I have since met Taylor, who is doing a number of book signings with me across the United States, and the crazy thing is, she’s just like Chloe: upbeat, funny, and genuinely kind hearted.
Your turn, now. Let’s hear about your cover “loves.” Give a shout out to some of the best YA covers you’ve seen in the past year, especially those that “nail” the story.
To learn more about young adult author Shelley Coriell and Chloe’s high school radio world, visit www.shelleycoriell.com
I read this book earlier this year and adored it - You can find my review HERE
Be sure to check out the Abrams & Chronicle Facebook page for some awesome 'Chloe' related Giveaways