Saturday, March 15, 2014

"the night, and the rain, and the river" - the cover

Here we are again in one of those posts where I show off! Today's edition: my book cover design for Forest Avenue Press' first fiction anthology, The Night, and the Rain, and the River, edited by Liz Prato.

One of the things I love about book cover design is how different every project is. For my recent design of The Gods of Second Chances (just out now), I simply mulled the story, themes and setting and then ran with what popped into my brain. With The Night, and the Rain, and the River, though, the project was all about collaboration.

Laura Stanfill, publisher of FAP, thought it would be fun to commission a local artist to come up with a piece of art, which I could then build the cover around. The idea came to her, actually, when she saw and was completely charmed by the work of Portland letterpress artist Clare Carpenter of Tiger Food Press. Not knowing where it would lead us, we sent Clare a copy of the manuscript and gave her some time to read and ruminate and then get on her letterpress and create.

When I took my first look at the piece she produced for The Night, and the Rain, and the River, what I saw was the night. Funny, because now when I see the completed cover, what I find in the art is the river - but that first time, I saw the night. Upside-down sky. Stars. Maybe even the rain. What I also saw was mood - that thread of loss and longing that runs through this collection of stories.

I knew that the visual aesthetic of the editor of the anthology, Liz Prato, is modern and minimalist, so, in tinkering with my layout, I wanted to marry Clare's art to that aesthetic. To work using brevity. I have to admit, when Laura and I first started talking about collaborating with an artist, I worried that my part in the design would be small. Insignificant. What I found was that my contribution was as much about what I didn't add to the layout as what I did. Space as an element as real as the title, the blurb text, or the art itself.

Check out that amazing bit of a blurb, there (just part of a more extensive blurb for the book), written by the incomparable Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and Dora: A Headcase.

The Night and the Rain and the River will be out in May and includes stories by:

Jan Baross, Gail Bartley, Victoria Blake, Alisha Churbe, Sage Cohen, Ellen Davidson Levine, Steve Denniston, Trevor Dodge, Gregg Kleiner, Christi Krug, Kathleen Lane, Dylan Lee, Margaret Malone, Matthew Robinson, Joanna Rose, Lois Rosen, Jackie Shannon Hollis, Domi Shoemaker, Scott Sparling, Tammy Lynne Stoner, Jennifer Williams, and Cindy Williams Gutiérrez.

Publication of the anthology is supported by a 2014 Oregon Literary Fellowship.

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