Image via Wikipedia
Many writers find their own prose fascinating: they could read their own stories all day. Prolific authors have to - the process of rewriting, redrafting and editing is one where the writer is constantly rereading. I find redrafting and editing the most absorbing of all authorly tasks.
When it comes to pictures, authors might be flummoxed. Not me - oh, no. I went to art school and I also paint, so I thought images were my forte. Not so: when asked to examine the way I think, and when tested by an expert, it turns out I am not a visual person at all. I think in words. What! Hmm - I do, which is not such a bad thing for a novelist. When I think of the beginning of a new book, or creating a new scene, I do not imagine it in my head like a part of a movie. Many authors will tell you they do that. I don't: I see the written page. I hear the words it's made of. I mumble great sentences, and think up fifteen different ways of saying pretty.
Images come to me when I read back what I have written. It's the only time I can see the scene. This means of course that I could not possibly design the cover of my own book. I cannot imagine it. I can only imagine covers of existing books. So my idea would necessarily be derivative. Luckily, I don't need to: the designer at BeWrite Books, my publishers, has that job. His name is Tony Szmuk, and he knows how to think. The cover of my new book has just come up on the BeWrite site, and this is what it looks like:
At the moment, this is the most beautiful image in all the world. Find me a writer who is not fascinated by the cover of their latest book. I am: and I can honestly say I would not have come up with this cover in a million years. It takes a designer who knows what a book cover needs to do: attract readers.
This cover expresses the nature of According to Luke: the puzzle aspect. The combination of elements that shift and change as the story progresses from order, to confusion, and then perhaps to some kind of order again. The closer you approach, the more you can decipher the elements: oh yes, a gun, and a beautiful woman. There's a picture of St Luke of course, and an ancient icon. And an artist's brush. But there is also a number... aha! It's the corner of a €500 note.
Money, guns, a beautiful woman: essential elements of a good thriller. But what has St Luke got to do with it all?
You know there's only one way to find out.