Today I have author Courtney Vail making a guest post on the blog. She’s currently on tour for her book Kings and Queens and agreed to talk about the cover and her design inspiration for the colors and fonts.
I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on the cover for my novel Kings & Queens, but it was also briefly on a list for worst cover designs on Goodreads, so I guess you can’t win with everyone.
Maybe you’re wondering how the cover design came about. Let me fill you in.
In Kings & Queens, seventeen-year-old Majesty manages her high school’s baseball team, the Cedar Creek Colts, on which her two best friends, Derek and Alec play. With the Colts running hot in an undefeated streak and just a few wins away reclaiming the state crown, baseball has become THE game in her sleepy, rich town Cedar Creek. Only, she’s about to learn there’s a secret, much darker contest in her region’s underbelly that has turned violence into a sport, and she gets yanked into it when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. So, the cover, both with the red swirl-splash explosion and the chunky type are representative of the fun and frivolousness that violence has become in the story’s context. And the hints of purple and blue imply royalty.
I love symbols. The book has nothing to do with chess itself, but it encases the move-for move-strategy of it. It’s like a living match. Every move, made or not made, has repercussions on others and what they do or don’t do. The roles of King, Queen and Pawn are constantly in flux, so readers, and Majesty too, don’t know who to trust, and those who assume they’re in control may or may not be after all. So, I wanted some kind of crown to convey this but not as blatant as some model wearing one on her head. I think the lipstick and the rhinestones are perfect. It makes it look like Majesty is marked, which she is.
For the text, I wanted something bold and strong because nearly everyone in the story is, and I wanted it slightly girly because, even though it would appeal to guys too, I expect that girls are going to be my main market. Even more remarkable, the font is called Romantic Fatal Serif, which is soooo my book. If I had to pick a font that represents my plot, that would be it. But I didn’t want the font too wispy, thin or scripty. I like what was chosen. There were several designs and early readers and teens picked this one.
And so, that’s the deal on what inspired and influenced the cover. In the process, I most appreciated the feedback of others while the decision was still being finalized, and then, finally being able to hold it in my hands. The back almost didn’t turn out like I wanted with the gradient, the printer was having problems, but it worked out and I love it the way it is.
Today, on this blog, I would also like to reveal the standing design for the sequel, Sapphire Reign. I’d love some feedback on it, to know if it works or doesn’t. I like the two juxtaposed, with the closeup style and all skin in the shot. Sapphire Reign is slated for release at the end of the summer through Little Prince Publishing. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Thanks so much for having me!
Kings and Queens by Courtney VailKings and Queens #1Publisher: Little Prince Publishing
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: January 27th 2012
Number of pages: 328
Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father's fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek...or, no...maybe Alec...maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.
All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they're sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it's not like she cries wolf. Not really. They'd be freaked too, but they're not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.
So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do...try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she's left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.