Thursday, June 12, 2014

book cover reveal: carry the sky

Forest Avenue Press' next novel will be out in September, and I've been hard at work on its cover. Carry the Sky is the first novel by poet Kate Gray. Here's what FAP has to say about the story:

Kate Gray takes an unblinking look at bullying in her debut novel, Carry the Sky. It’s 1983 at an elite Delaware boarding school. Taylor Alta, the new rowing coach, arrives reeling from the death of the woman she loved. Physics teacher Jack Song, the only Asian American on campus, struggles with his personal code of honor when he gets too close to a student. These two young, lonely teachers narrate the story of a strange and brilliant thirteen-year-old boy who draws atomic mushroom clouds on his notebook, pings through the corridors like a pinball, and develops a crush on an older girl with secrets of her own. Carry the Sky sings a brave and honest anthem about what it means to be different in a world of uniformity.

I wanted a cover that touches on the elements and tone of the book but also one that speaks to the beautiful poetry in Kate's language. How she can take simplicity and make it swoop up into something transcendent. There was one particular passage that had my ear when I came up with the concept for the book cover. I thought I'd give that to you as a little taste of one of the two voices that tell the story in Carry the Sky. This voice is Jack Song, and he's giving Kyle (the aforementioned strange and brilliant boy who draws mushroom clouds on his school binder) an impromptu lesson in origami:

The binder goes on top of the pile of paper he wants to fold. The piece of brown package wrap in my hand goes on top of the drawing on his binder. Each fold I show him, the angles, the different basic patterns. He watches, and his eyes grow bigger than teenage eyes. They get big like a camera lens, like he’s recording. And we sit past the warning bell for dinner. And the light on the lake goes purple. We sit on the bench, and I fold, and he folds, and the light from the dorm behind us goes on, and we make cranes.

The part Kyle likes the best is folding down the wings and pulling on the head and tail to expand the body. He likes blowing on the body to fill it out. Enough air to fill enough space. We make real things. Cranes. No gravitational force needed. Cranes spill over the blast zone of his binder. Out of the annihilation, out of the mess of papers, before a lake perfectly calm at night, cranes rise.

More info on Forest Avenue Press is here.

Kate recently participated in a literary blog hop (something I'll be joining in very soon, myself), in which she answered seven questions about her book. You can check that out here.