If you enjoy mysteries, then keep your eyes open for this book, which is coming soon. It’s the third in E J Lamprey’s whodunit series, set in Grasshopper Lawns and featuring a group of very sharp-witted amateur sleuths.
I talked to the author about her very striking cover.
What does the cover for Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks tell us about your book?
My brief to the artist, Lacey O’Connor, was that I wanted to include a ginger cat, the Forth Road Bridge, the moon, and a rosebud – or boutonniere – in a glass, because three of them were major factors in the story. The Forth Road Bridge turns 50 next year, there’s a chance I’ll be able to pick up a bit of promotion through that, as the book includes a car chase on the bridge.
What does it tell us about you?
I do like a cover to have clues to the contents, I’m quite a literal person.
Was is it easy to design?
Very easy, because Lacey is so talented, I tell her what I want, and wait! She comes up with a first draft and then we fine tune. For this cover I sent her photos of the cat and the bridge as well as the brief.
How many other cover designs did you discard on the way?
The main elements were there in the first draft, but it took about five revamps to get the effects I had wanted – more than the previous covers, but then it is much more complex than usual.
Did you ask for other people’s opinions and was that helpful – or confusing?
I ran the second draft past my beta readers, who would have accepted it as it was. I put the third on my Facebook page and Twitter but didn’t get feedback as such, although people liked it. I’ve attached the very first draft, when she had (despite the photo) used the wrong bridge, the iconic rail one, because it may be interesting to see the differences.
Having been through the process, what tips can you pass on about designing a cover?
Get an artist you like, and can work with. I’m thrilled with this cover, but I like all three covers she’s done for me. I put the brief for my first cover onto Elance, with a tiny budget, and had left it a bit late, so it had to be done in a week. I got eight responses, from all over the world, and could look at all eight portfolios. Lacey wasn’t my first choice, as she was the most expensive and I didn’t like her portfolio best. By the greatest luck the American guy I picked couldn’t do it in the time! Lacey is a joy to work with. I loved her picture for One Two but accepted her lettering, even though I didn’t like it personally, because she was the expert. However, I played with the picture itself later, came up with lettering I far preferred, and she corrected the cover at the same time as she did the second cover, so my second tip would be to stick to your guns unless you actually prefer what the artist recommends.
Finally, tell us about Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks in 100 words.
The third whodunit in the Grasshopper Lawns series dives gleefully into the murkiest end of the senior singles dating pool, where the predators lurk, with Edge volunteering as the face of the police investigation. Dating for the over-fifties is definitely a boom industry, but for some it has been a dead end, and the police want to know why. The investigation is so covert, not even her friends can know why she is suddenly so keen to meet a series of slightly alarming men. After all, she’ll be monitored at all times, so absolutely nothing can go wrong…