HERE IT IS! A sneak peek at the fantastic cover for my middle-grade novel coming out next spring for Walker/Bloomsbury. This is the version they’ll be using for the ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) and for the publisher’s catalogue. The final-final version may have a few more tweaks. Go ahead and click on it to make it bigger.
That’s Lexi McGill, the heroine, with her head sticking out the window. (I’m hoping the artist can grab a virtual curling wand and add a few more curls to her hair for the final version.) Her little brother Kevin is sitting next to her in the baseball cap, looking a little freaked out. They’re from a small town called Cold Spring, so New York City is quite a jolt. The brunette with the wry expression and funky pigtails (with bluish streaks, if you look closely) is native New Yorker, Kim Ling Levine. Her parents own a brownstone on 73rd and West End Avenue which is where Lexi and Kevin’s aunt lives and where the kids are staying–but I don’t want to give too much of the story away. Okay, only that it’s “dislike at first sight” for Lexi when she meets Kim Ling. “Like a left to right handshake, we just don’t fit.” Can you recognize Grand Central in the background? It’s the famous railroad terminal, where several scenes in the book take place. In it, around it, and way, way, way below it.
Erwin Madrid is the incredibly talented artist who created this cover. I really like how it has a kind of 3D effect–and how the scenery almost looks like a photograph. Besides doing book covers, Erwin does animation drawings for DreamWorks and has worked on some of the Shrek and Madagascar movies. (You can sort of tell from the way he draws people. I can almost see them hopping around on the silver screen.) If you ask me, he’s kind of a genius when it comes to art–and apparently has the patience of a saint.
See, this is about the fourth version of the cover I’ve seen, and I’m sure there’ve been a ton more versions that my editor didn’t show me. (I probably would’ve driven her nuts, if she had. I’m very picky when it comes to art. Okay, I’m very picky about just about everything.) Just from the few versions I’ve seen, the angle of the buildings has changed completely, the scene has gone from night to day, the Chrysler Building was cut out, the letters have gone from yellow to red, the cab has gotten much bigger, and the direction of it has changed. (Did you know things have to be moving from left to right on a cover, otherwise it looks weird?) I’m glad my publisher is just as picky as I am, ’cause now we’ve ended up with this drool-worthy cover!
The rest of the book is in typesetting right now, so it won’t be long before I get to see what it looks like in actual print–you know, the galleys. Three words: Hold. Me. Down.