Cover Reveal: Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Though Last Christmas in Paris won't hit bookstores until October, critics are already praising the book, a romantic, epistolary novel that takes place during World War I. "Unputdownable," wrote bestselling author Karen White. "Last Christmas in Paris stands out not just for the beautiful prose, but also for the characters that literally shimmer on the page. Kudos to Ms. Gaynor and Ms. Webb for … this remarkable novel that will undoubtedly go on my keeper shelf."

Cover Reveal: Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

The Writer's Practice: Mira Jacob

"One too many people asked me if 'Sleepwalker's' was going to have a sequel, and that kind of question makes me claustrophobic in my soul." In part to push her creative self forward to the next narrative while avoiding this constant question, to skirt the Second Book trap/trope, Jacob moved into a different medium: the graphic memoir. 

The Writer's Practice: Mira Jacob

Rachel Vale, Designing for The Good People

It was an absolute joy working on The Good People by Hannah Kent. From the very opening pages I was overwhelmed by the rural landscape and how intrinsically it echoed the beauty and fragility of the lives it surrounded – the love, grief and terrible loss. The atmosphere it created for me was almost a physical one that stayed with me long after I finished reading.

Rachel Vale, Designing for The Good People

Discussion with Author Ann Mah

A peek at writer Ann Mah’s Instagram feed reveals crusty bread, sunny Parisian kitchens, and candids of her 3-year-old daughter in New York City. As a travel journalist and novelist, Mah firmly embraces the belief that a writer is ideally a wanderer: perhaps there’s a home base, but the inspiration of new experiences and surroundings is a necessity. 

Discussion with Author Ann Mah

The life of a Cover Designer, Uncovered: Emily Mahon

Working as a cover designer affords all sorts of benefits: free books, a variety of projects and of course the ability to walk into a bookshop on the other side of the country and see your design work on display. But as with everything in life, working as a cover designer comes with its own set of challenges. Spine spoke with talented designer Emily Mahon to get her perspective.

The life of a Cover Designer, Uncovered: Emily Mahon

The Writer's Practice: Erika Swyler

Sit down for four hours every day. Drink coffee.

Erika Swyler's writing practice is summed up in two basic phrases, practical sentences nothing like the lovely prose she spun in her first novel The Book of Speculation and numerous short stories. Her debut bestseller follows two threads stitching together the story of 21st-century Long Island librarian Simon Watson with that of an 18th-century carnival troupe.

The Writer's Practice: Erika Swyler

Jenna Stempel, Creating the Little House Trilogy Box Set

Jenna Stempel is a Senior Designer at HarperCollins Children's Books in NYC with work notably featured in the New York Times and the 2015 New York Book Show. Here she talks with Spine once more about her elaborate design process in creating the anniversary book covers for the Little House on The Prairie Trilogy box set - presumably no easy task!

Jenna Stempel, Creating the Little House Trilogy Box Set

Sian Wilson, the Process for Designing This Love

Sian Wilson is a Senior Designer at Simon & Schuster UK. Among her works is the cover design for Dani Atkin's This Love. Wilson answered questions for Spine about her process in developing the piece. 

Sian Wilson, the Process for Designing This Love

YA Author Fleur Ferris Writes from Life 

Australian YA novelist Fleur Ferris has a vaster store of life events than most. Previous and current personal and professional titles include police officer, paramedic, mother, daughter, sibling, friend, student, teacher, speaker, rice farmer, traveller, holiday maker, city-dweller and country-dweller. Her role as concerned parent pushed her to an exploration that led to her first novel, Risk, about two 15-year-old girls seeking romance online. She spoke to Spine about the journey.

YA Author Fleur Ferris Writes from Life 

Cover Reveal! Kris Waldherr's Bad Princess

When Scholastic book designer Maeve Norton heard the title Bad Princess, she knew she wanted in. The nonfiction title by Kris Waldherr presents the tales of more than 30 real-life princesses, beginning in the Dark Ages and ending with Britain's current Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Cover Reveal! Kris Waldherr's Bad Princess

Q & A with Designer Jess Massabrook

Jess Massabrook is a designer with Princeton University Press. There she creates promotional materials for the publisher, as well as designs covers for books such as Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? and Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education. Here Massabrook joins us to answer a few questions on process.

Q & A with Designer Jess Massabrook

Discussion with Designer Janet Hansen

Janet Hansen, a designer at Alfred A. Knopf, has a slew of standout covers to her name that are not only brilliantly designed, but perfectly in tune with the stories they cover, as well. While you might expect that to be the norm, it’s not, but Hansen’s reverence for the written word and the authors she works with ensures that the content and cover are always in sync. Impressed by her breadth of work (which has been celebrated by everyone from The New York Times to Design Observer) we chatted with Hansen to find out how she got her start, what her process is usually like, and what inspired some of her most recent works, including The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff and Voices in the Night by Steven Millhauser.

Discussion with Designer Janet Hansen

Interview with La Boca Founder, Scot Bendall

Founded in 2002 by Scot Bendall, La Boca is an award winning boutique design studio. From movie posters, to record covers, to iconic advertising campaigns, their client list includes everyone from Nike, MGM, Warner Bros to The Sydney Opera House and beyond. Scot took time out of his ridiculously busy day to answer a few questions for me about book cover designs.

Interview with La Boca Founder, Scot Bendall

Jenna Stempel on Designing the Cover for Girls in the Moon

"My initial inclinations were to take a bunch of stabs at music video imagery and gig posters. Those indie rock bands show off an impeccably curated lifestyle of leaning against graffitied buildings in their threadbare t-shirts and watching the sun set on roofs in Brooklyn. I tried to capture that same romanticized city life on the cover."

Jenna Stempel on Designing the Cover for Girls in the Moon

Author Janet McNally on Writing Girls in the Moon

"I don’t remember much of the early part of writing Girls In the Moon, because I started when the twins were ten months old and those months were all a blur. Maybe that was good for me! … I can’t remember much about where the ideas came from, but that’s what happens with many of my projects. I’m almost a believer in the Muse—some things just come to me, and they turn into something larger in a way that I can’t track later."

Author Janet McNally on Writing Girls in the Moon

Lisa Brewster, on Designing for The Witch's Kiss & The Witch's Tears

"A quote from the copy explains 'Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life?' Therefore hearts were crucial to the storyline because of the romance element and the wizard’s rage and plot fuelled by his own broken heart. I tried to work with hearts as a concept in a dynamic iconic manner."

Lisa Brewster, on Designing for The Witch's Kiss & The Witch's Tears