Writing novels requires a lot of work-in-progress—research, revisions, candid reviews, formatting, and proofreading. Yet, the cover is the centerpiece of a book. If done well, the cover art sets the ‘mind space’ of the writing for the reader. To familiarize you with the creative effort that transforms a bundle of typeset paper into a bound book, I introduce the artists who put this together. They are listed in the order of the steps needed to finish the book.
Mark took the cover photo for Ghosts of Lost Dreams while we were driving the back roads near East Jordan, Michigan, searching for a subject related to the plot of the book: barn, animals, or as it turned out, an Amish buggy. Mindful of the aversion the Amish have to photography, Mark took the shot from behind, capturing a moment when the horse’s head turned to the side. I knew right away it melded with the theme of the novel, with the shadows creeping towards a lone buggy on a dirt lane, leading up a hill, and through a dark wood.
Mark has traveled extensively, camera in hand, transforming the ordinary into the remarkable. Farmers, street merchants, musicians, Buddhist monks, and Berber families are all empowered as relevant members of the human condition in his view. I recommend you visit Mark’s photography website:
Chris is a graphic artist who excels in design, especially as related to brands and emblems. He was the one who, during a discussion over convivial libations some years ago, during which I described the concept of electricity in the earth, aka stray voltage, came up with the idea of the lightning-in-a-bottle icon for Stray Voltage Press. It just seemed right. Chris picked up where the photography of Mark left off, taking the photos, book title, and back cover info, and melding them all into the cover, front and back. You could have a thirty-minute discussion with him about fonts. Chris has designed a consistent theme for all of my covers, capturing the dark, suspenseful themes (rabies outbreaks, serial barn arsonist, loss of family farms) of the plots and settings, bringing all the elements of a cover design together very well. If you want to explore his vision, visit his website: https://www.chrisherrondesign.com
Hannah is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. As in my previous books, Hannah gives my writing a bit of flair. Hannah designed and added individual sketches embedded within the text to help the reader pause and reinforce the story through visual means. Her artwork can be found at: https://www.instagram.com/hannah_time_art/
Lacey is a graduate of Olivet College, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design. She applies her skills as the designer at the local print shop – International Minute Press – to integrate all the parts to finish the cover and printing. She endures the cumbersome (and at times frantic, last minute) task of setting my Word files into print-ready format, then giving advice on margins and page layout. Outside of work, Lacey enjoys playing video games, watching movies of any and all genres, spending time in nature (especially kayaking or swimming during summer), and relaxing with her husband, Brandon, and 2-year-old pup, Brody.
Much appreciation to Mark, Chris, Hannah, and Lacey, who expanded my novels with visual insight that improves the expression of my writing.
And a final note…thank you to my wife, Tina, for her patience in serving as my webmaster for this site.