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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Cover Story: Story No. 1: Fade Into Red by Reshma K. Barshikar

So here is our first story in the segment "The Cover Story" where we would be telling you all right from the ideation to the execution of the same. We interviewed the author Reshma and she has been very supportive in sending a detailed story. Unfortunately we couldn't get the artist's (designer's) perspective on the same as the person had switched jobs, so if you are the one and reading this, please let us know. We will be more than happy to hear from you.

Presenting the beautiful cover page of the book:

What attracted us was a beautiful, lonely woman staring at the road ahead, wine yards around as if pondering whether to take the path. Many questions and doubts within her, a ref election of uncertainties of today's youth. This emotion portrayed beautifully by the selection of bright colours that being the entire image to life.  So lets hear what Reshma has to say about it all.

Here is the story in Reshma's words:

Designing the cover is one the most exciting and nerve-wracking phases in the publishing process. It’s the first thing a reader sees in a bookshop and that quote- Never judge a book by it’s cover’ is of no consolation. I never realized how many elements we had to consider. There’s the audience and then the genre. There’s a budget and time. I was initially torn between a contemporary abstract cover, a photograph or a watercolor illustration. 

There was a particular abstract idea I liked- a beautiful drop of burgundy wine splashed onto a white textured cover- with the title in the middle. My editor, Faiza, was very helpful on guiding me on what would and wouldn’t work and said my audience would prefer a more traditional cover. The other idea was a landscape photograph of a vineyard much like Únder the Tuscan Sun. We knew it had to be bright and airy; it’s not a dark book, so no dragons. But it’s also not a rip-roaring comedy and so had to have an appropriate sense of introspection about it. It was imperative that vineyards or wine be incorporated into it but I also wanted it to be figurative.  I realized I needed Ayra, my protagonist, in the cover in some way. This was her journey. So I envisioned a woman walking away from us and into the vineyards, her back turned to us, wondering where her life would lead. (aha! and from what you read above, the picture so perfectly conveys this, doesn't it?)

Once we decided on going with an illustration, my editor related the brief to the designers. The drafts were good but focused a lot on the title itself, which they believed, was very inviting. While my character was not walking into the vineyards, she was nevertheless still looking away from me, which fulfilled that need. So we decided to make the borders richer. I also had to tweak the figure to make sure she matched the spirit of the character with small changes like tucking in her shirt. My sister in law suggested we add heels and put her in a skirt. And we had our cover.

When I think back now, it was actually very little. My editor did a wonderful job in translating my vision to the designers, who got it spot on. So apart from changing her attire and enriching the border with more grapes and foliage, there was very little to be done.

The fact that she’s looking away from us and is barefoot shows she’s trying to get back to her roots; that was important to me. I loved that interpretation. I also love the fact that they put her on the spine; it gives it so much character. The Cyprus trees are referred to repeatedly in the novel and so take center stage in the landscape along with the cerulean grapes, which are the exact colour of the Sangiovese grapes that go into making Chianti.

I thank the designers Joy Gosney and Gavin Morris for the most wonderful cover. I am also seriously chuffed by the way the title jumps off the page and hopefully off the shelves.

So though we are yet to understand how the book does, we sincerely hope it jumps off the shelves right into the readers hand and wish Reshma all the best.

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