Thursday, 3 August 2017

Cover Reveal - Three Dreams In The Key Of G

I have a new novel (my fifth) coming out in October, published by Dead Ink Books. As part of my book deal, the cover art would be designed by a designer of their choice. They opted for artist Michael Lacey who has had exhibitions of his art in Scotland, London and the North-West. 

The Dead Ink authors were each asked to fill in a questionnaire about our book (produced below) for the artist to start from. 

Normally I have an idea for what might go on the cover, but this time I was really struggling; the only two notions I had were both a bit kitsch, which doesn't fit the tone of the book. Fortunately Michael came up with a brilliant design, which I am delighted to share with you now. 

The first thing is I love the colour and the strength of the hues. But what's really ingenious is how Michael has designed the image of thorny flowers with molecular structures. Finally there are subtle, shadowy outline of a machine gun. In another blog post I'll talk about the themes of the book so you can see how Michael has perfectly captured those in this arresting cover design. 

Even though Dead Ink employed three different artists for their covers, there is a detectable style that links all the book covers together so that I think you can tell they come from the same literary stable. No mean feat considering this involved three different artists each with their own unique approach to art and design. Here are some of the other covers.



Here is the questionnaire with my responses:

Please provide a brief cover blurb for your book:

Three very powerful female characters, Mother, Crone and genetic Creatrix,  none of whom will meekly submit to their besiegers. Whether they are aware or not, they are being informed by another intimate voice so close at hand, as to be under the skin. Will the language they are able to draw on, be sufficiently robust to meet their enquiries, or will it betray them and lead the triumph of their besiegers? 

Main themes of the book:

Nature V Nurture (false binary)
Human genome, science (and Frankenstein science). What makes us human?
Human reproduction 
Northern Ireland religious divide
Reintegrating paramilitary men of violence back into a peaceful society
Parenting - why do we as a species have children?
The SI system of units of measurement & how all measurement is iniquitous

Main characters:

Jean Ome (Northern Irish mother of two daughters)
Jean Ohm (octogenarian cult leader/ battered women’s refuge leader)
Genome (the human genome being dissected & coded by scientists)

Are there any art movements/styles that match, are included in, or inspired your book?

Wall murals during the Troubles in Ulster
Calligraphy is a minor theme of the book

Are there any pieces of art that influenced your book or appear in it? (Paintings, books, films, music, etc.)

No. I am a big fan of Mark Rothko, not sure if it’s relevant

If you had to choose three four (!) words to describe your book what would they be:

pentimento/ palimpsest *

* the 3 characters are unknown to each other, yet each influences and overwrites the next one in an unending circle. 

Are there any colours that you think are particularly relevant to your book?

Notionally the Orange Order and Green of Irish Republicanism set against one another

Are there any props or items relevant to your book?

A journal in which all the pages have come loose and are out of order.
A lambeg drum
A baby’s calibrated milk bottle (empty, stained with milk swash)

For what it’s worth I always envisaged part or all of the cover being a garden gnome with a fishing rod dipping into a pool/pond of sperm like tadpoles, with a Preppy letter ‘G’ on his preppy shirt. However I have also contemplated this may be too kitschy and jokey which goes against the themes of the book. So I am neutral on this. 

Are there any locations relevant to your book?

Omagh, Northern Ireland
The laboratories where the human genome is being coded
A (cult) compound in the USA

Is there anything that you DON’T want to feature on your cover?

Can’t think of anything

You can pre-order my new novel during August from the publishers here

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