The Writer's Practice: Mike Scardino, Bad Call

Half a century ago, Mike Scardino served as an ambulance attendant for St. John's Queens Hospital. In the late '60s, working an ambulance didn't require training beyond what the Red Cross (or in Scardino's case, the Boy Scouts) offered. The job paid better than anything else a young college student could earn on breaks, but it was brutal, physically and emotionally. 

The Writer's Practice: Mike Scardino, Bad Call

Cover Reveal! The Meaning of Blood by Chuck Caruso

Cloud Lodge Books (CLB) are delighted to have Spine Magazine exclusively reveal the cover for The Meaning of Blood and Other Tales of Perversity, the latest offering by award-winning crime author Chuck Caruso. The evocative cover is courtesy of design studio LaBoca.

Cover Reveal! The Meaning of Blood by Chuck Caruso

Take Cover: Alice Marwick on Creative Process

Here is the thing about Alice Marwick: she refuses to apply only one philosophy to cover design. So far, her open mind and portfolio have served her (and the authors for whom she designs) well. Marwick has designed for publishers like Bloomsbury, Zed Books, I. B. Tauris, Simon & Schuster, Little, Brown, Atlantic Books, and John Murray. She has also worked in-house at a small independent press. Now, Marwick works for herself and the books in which she believes. Her latest cover design for Sweet Thames is yet another testament to her versatility as a designer.

Take Cover: Alice Marwick on Creative Process

Kimberly Glyder on Designing Dear Mrs. Bird

Back in early 2017, Jaya Miceli, art director at Scribner, asked me to work on the jacket for Dear Mrs. Bird, a novel by AJ Pearce. The book takes place during World War II in England and centers on a young woman who answers letters at a newspaper as an advice columnist. These letters are addressed to “Mrs. Bird.” Given a great deal of creative freedom on this title, one of the challenges I had was to differentiate my design from the UK edition, which is a beautiful package featuring a bird.

Kimberly Glyder on Designing Dear Mrs. Bird

Glenn O'Neill Gets His Hands Dirty For The Possible World

The Possible World is a novel featuring three seemingly disconnected characters who each, in different ways, need saving. They are brought together to change one another for the better. Ben is a six-year-old boy who witnesses a horrific crime that claims the life of his mother; Lucy is the doctor who tends to Ben in the aftermath; and lastly Clare, an elderly lady, who harbours a long lifetime of secrets.

In considering a jacket approach it was suggested, in our monthly briefing meeting at Penguin, that we think of the possibility of a simple iconic image that radiated a sense of hope.

Glenn O'Neill Gets His Hands Dirty For The Possible World

Spine Podcast, Season 2, Episode 3: Marcie Lawrence

For this episode Holly Dunn talks to Marcie Lawrence, Senior Designer for Little, Brown and Company. Lawrence creates covers primarily for middle-grade and young adult titles. Topics covered include marketing to young people, how to design for books with difficult topics, ad the vices and virtues of pintrest.

Spine Podcast, Season 2, Episode 3: Marcie Lawrence

Q & A with Sea Witch Author, Sarah Henning

“I never could quite escape the fact that I wanted to write books,” said former journalist-turned-novelist Sarah Henning. “I think it’s impossible for us to run away from who we really want to be…  Dreams don’t die even when we’re adults and have a mortgage and kids. Some people stuff those dreams down and let them rot in their guts and some of us go for it, even if it seems selfish or silly, though dreams never are. Anyone who tells you that you’re either of those things for going after what you want most likely has a big dream-shaped ulcer in their gut.”

Q & A with Sea Witch Author, Sarah Henning

Spine Podcast, Season 2, Episode 2: Designers at HarperCollins

Holly Dunn speaks with a team of designers from HarperCollins, including Jessie Gang, David Curtis, Alison Klapthor & Erin Fitzsimmons. They discuss individual projects developed for HarperCollins, as well as how they work together as a team.

Spine Podcast, Season 2, Episode 2: Designers at HarperCollins

Sarahmay Wilkinson, Using Textiles for Woman of the Ashes

Working with Laird Gallagher, editor at FSG, on Woman of the Ashes was an absolute pleasure. Mia Cuoto’s writing has the depth, detail, and precision of a journalist, with an added layer of magic and wonder -- it is most captivating.

Woman of the Ashes takes place in Southern Mozambique in 1894. The story explores  two sides of an empire, as well as two sides of a divided family. At the center of the story is a young woman named Imani. Fifteen years of age, Imani is a member of the VaChopi tribe. She is hired as the translator for the Portuguese Sergeant German de Melo, it is their relationship that becomes the primary backdrop for the unfolding of Woman of the Ashes.

Sarahmay Wilkinson, Using Textiles for Woman of the Ashes

Nathan Burton Serves Up the Cover for Sophia of Silicon Valley

I was briefed by Siripant Ploy at Harper Collins to come up with a cover for Anna Yen’s Sophia of Silicon Valley, a comic novel whose protagonist is finding her way through a male/geek dominated industry. They didn’t want it to look too chick lit and wanted something iconic and eye-catching.

Nathan Burton Serves Up the Cover for Sophia of Silicon Valley

Suzanne Dean collaborates with Bryn Perrott for There There

Fierce, funny and groundbreaking, There There is a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power. I wanted something simple, strident and bold that used type and image in a stark combination. There There was such a commanding title, I instinctively knew it would look incredibly graphic, filling the cover dimensions perfectly.  I thought the US woodcut artist, Bryn Perrott, would be particularly good for the cover. She had a raw energy about her work that, in my mind, perfectly matched the tone of the novel.

Suzanne Dean collaborates with Bryn Perrott for There There

Spine Podcast, Season 2, Episode 1: Coralie Bickford-Smith

In this episode Holly Dunn interviews designer / author / illustrator and all-around brilliant creative, Coralie Bickford-Smith. Topics discussed include Coralie's breaking into the publishing industry, the creation of a few of her covers, and how she came to write and illustrate The Fox And The Star, and The Worm And The Bird.

Spine Podcast, Season 2, Episode 1: Coralie Bickford-Smith

Janet McNally Explores Fairy Tales, Ballet, & Addiction in The Looking Glass

Novelist Janet McNally’s latest book was inspired by her love for fairy tales and ballet. 

In The Looking Glass, Sylvie Blake’s older sister Julia disappears, leaving Sylvie struggling to live up to Julia’s legacy at the National Ballet Theatre Academy. With the help of their old storybook, Sylvie sets out to find her sister and ultimately learns that “the damsel in distress is often the only one who can save herself.” 

Janet McNally Explores Fairy Tales, Ballet, & Addiction in The Looking Glass

The Writer's Practice: Sarah Krasnostein

Efficiently and profitably, Sandra Pankhurst runs Specialized Trauma Cleaning Services in Melbourne, Australia. She leads her crew into the splattered aftermaths of various deaths, criminal and otherwise, and through the homes of hoarders, where her employees dig through walls of garbage while Pankhurst delicately, expertly, respectfully, kindly keeps the homeowners physically and mentally on task.

The Writer's Practice: Sarah Krasnostein

Sukutangan on Designing Rahasia Salinem

Rahasia Salinem is a novel inspired by a true story, about the life of a woman called Mbah Salinem, a maid who has helped many families and tended many households throughout her lifetime, including the authors’. Set in the 1940s and modern times, this book also explores the fight for independence by young Indonesian soldiers and the aftermath of war, and poverty.

We explored many concepts for the cover of this book. At one time we were focusing on Salinem herself, illustrating her figure and making her the prominent focus of the cover, but we realized that it would be too easy and predictable, especially because her name is on the title.

Sukutangan on Designing Rahasia Salinem

The Writer's Practice: Lara Elena Donnelly

Tropical Porachis, complex and intrigue-addled, is economically powered by a thriving film industry that at once dazzles and distracts from real-world political drama. The imagined country serves as stage for Lara Elena Donnelly's Armistice, the second book in her Amberlough Dossier series. On her publisher's website, she describes Porachis as "Golden Age of Hollywood-does-Bollywood, with a side order of In the Loop."

But how do you get to Porachis? Donnelly arrived via character.

The Writer's Practice: Lara Elena Donnelly

Colin Webber on Designing Little Disasters

Little Disasters is the story of two couples brought together by chance and changed forever by an affair. Michael and Paul meet in a hospital waiting room while their significant others are giving birth. It alternates between the two men's perspectives as well as between past and present day. The details unfold amid a mysterious disaster that's wreaking havoc on NYC in the present day.

I explored a few directions before landing on the final. One idea was an ice cream cone that’s tumbling over. The couple that has the affair is out one day getting ice cream together and they decide to make that their code word in case either one of their partners finds out. So at face value a ruined ice cream seems pretty innocuous, but once you find out the connotations it symbolizes that ‘oh shit’ moment.

Colin Webber on Designing Little Disasters

Dominic Forbes on Designing Mrs Whistler

Mrs Whistler is the story of American painter James Abbot McNeill Whistler, Jimmy to his friends, as told through the eyes of his long-suffering muse, Maud Franklin.

I was really excited to get this brief as I’ve been intrigued by Whistler’s work since learning about him in Art History lessons at college. As well as being notorious for his witticisms in social circles many of his works and his art philosophy were quite radical for the time.

Dominic Forbes on Designing Mrs Whistler

Designers with Moxie: Cherie Chapman Talks Cover Design

Have you ever wanted to follow a successful designer around for a day, in the hopes of discovering their magic secrets to success? Cover Designer Cherie Chapman chalks her success up to three key elements: preparation, communication, and an openness to change. In design as in life, no?

Designers with Moxie: Cherie Chapman Talks Cover Design

The Writer's Practice: Justina Ireland

Hey. How do you feel about zombies?

Two years back, writer Justina Ireland launched this question at Balzer + Bray Executive Editor Jordan Brown. Ireland wasn't a publishing novice — Simon & Schuster had released several of her young adult titles — but she was coming out of a self-imposed hiatus, and a recent split with her agent. "I went back to the well and said, 'What do I love about this process?' I took a moment." And then she wrote another book, a post-Civil War American young adult novel. With zombies. 

The Writer's Practice: Justina Ireland

Matthew Revert on Designing How to Set Yourself on Fire

Head editor, Michelle Dotter from Dzanc and I enjoy an easy working relationship. It’s always a pleasure working with her, so when I was given the opportunity to design the cover for How To Set Yourself On Fire by Julia Dixon Evans, I jumped at the chance. The book sounded fantastic and offered a lot of design opportunities. I don't tend to take titles too literally when approaching a book's design as it is often far too obvious, but when I first approached it I couldn't resist the evocative image of a burning book. As you'll see, an element of this idea survived to the final draft, but early on, I was far more overt.

Matthew Revert on Designing How to Set Yourself on Fire

She Gathers, An Evening at a She Designs Books Event

On May 31st, She Designs Books held it’s third “She Gathers” event at Pondicheri in New York City. The initiative, founded by Anne Twomey and Nicole Caputo, celebrates the female designers working in the book industry and fosters a supportive and inspiring community. “She Gathers” began in March of this year, and since has been held monthly. In the summer, they plan to also host “She Lunches” to widen the audience to those who have difficulty making it in the evenings (for example mothers).

After, I followed up with some of the women in attendance to get their thoughts on the event. 

She Gathers, An Evening at a She Designs Books Event

Ambiguous Animation: Michael Salu Talks The Garbage Times/White Ibis

What do you do when a book cover design demands movement, dynamism, and mystery? If you are Soft Skull Press, you call designer Michael Salu, a writer himself, who approaches the uncanny with his kinetic designs. For Sam Pink’s The Garbage Times/White Ibis, a combination of two novellas, Salu filled a tall order by designing a cover that solicits curiosity both in motion and at rest.

Ambiguous Animation: Michael Salu Talks The Garbage Times/White Ibis