I’m delighted to reveal the cover for “Steeple”, the sequel to my debut novel “Barricade”. This cover, and that of Barricade, are the work of Lisa Brewster from Black Sheep. All hail her mighty skills!
I admit that I started thinking about covers the moment I was signed to Gollancz. I remember my editor, Simon, bringing up the subject at our first meeting, and having to restrain myself from doing the dance of delighted disbelief. I was being published, and I was talking artwork with my editor. How much cooler could life get?
Quite a bit as it turned out. I didn’t really know what to expect when I opened the first email, titled “Barricade cover”. I was at work at the time, and I had to stifle a joyful yelp when I saw the design. (I believe I bounced in my chair and quietly chuckled instead).
My reaction to this fantastic Steeple cover was much the same. Lisa and Gollancz have created a powerful graphic theme for the trilogy, and I am chuffed beyond belief with the results.
Reflecting on the wonder of it all set me thinking about other cover art that has resonated with me over the years. I found I recall some images instantly, most from my childhood, drawn from the collections of my brother and parents.
I thought it might be diverting to list some of them here. They don’t really represent my reading, only a series of images that for whatever reason lodged themselves in my subconscious, apparently never to leave.
James Herbert – Fluke
As a teenager my brother was a big James Herbert fan. I was a kid, and I used to find this image both terrifying and utterly compelling. I have memories of plucking it off the shelf on a number of occasions, trying to imagine what kind of demented story would justify such chilling artwork – and being too afraid to read and find out.
Len Deighton – Mexico Set
Another one I remember from my childhood, one of a trilogy in our home’s bathroom library that used to catch my eye. Bright colours and simple, striking composition made for a vicious, chilly image.
Iain Banks – The Bridge
My brother had all the Banks books in the beautiful black and white series. I think it was the first time I was jealous of a collection. As a teenager I recall being struck by The Bridge cover most of all, and planning to print it as a huge poster for my bedroom. Never happened. Whatyougonnado?
JG Ballard – Concrete Island
Stark and jagged, this is a cover from my Dad’s shelves, and another that used to unnerve me. I pilfered it from his flat intending to discover its secrets. It only took a quarter century to work up the guts to read it. (It’s really good).
Roald Dahl – Over to You
These editions were beautiful designs, but I remember this one most of all because I could never figure out what it was supposed to be. Kiss Kiss was a pair of lips, Someone Like You was an eye – what the hell is this supposed to represent? Can anyone enlighten me?
Daphne Du Maurier – The Birds
From my Mum’s collection. Another cover that scared the absolute living bejesus out of me as a child. I mean look at that EYE. Plainly irresponsible of my mum to even keep this in the house, don’t you think?
Do you have covers from your childhood similarly seared in your memory? What are they? I’d love to know. Meanwhile keep an eye out for Lisa’s cover for the final part of the Barricade trilogy. It’s bound to be a corker.