It took a lot of searching and tries before I finally settled on a cover for my upcoming novel Not By Design.
My first idea for a cover was one that would depict Rome – where the novel is partially set. I particularly liked a certain photo that was on an Italian tour company’s website – an alleyway with huge overflowing flower boxes.
Here’s an excerpt from my novel to explain why I thought such a cover photo was appropriate. (Garbatella is a village-like community about twenty minutes from the center of Rome.)
The fifteen-minute walk to Tina’s cottage leads through a maze of courtyards, each with its own English garden. Her low-rise house, with its wrought iron gate, is at the end of a winding, cobbled street filled with overflowing flower boxes. I make my way along the curved sidewalks, soaking in the splendor of the terra cotta buildings with their clotheslines full of colorful laundry slowly drying in the late afternoon sun. I pass by a huge mural and smile to myself. Perhaps one day, Garbatella will also have one of my paintings on its walls.
Alas, my request to use the flower boxes-alleyway photo was never answered. That was a good thing. Not by Design is about more than Rome and its great places to eat. It’s about a woman’s struggle to come to terms with her road map. A short novel more about character than setting.
I haven’t completely chucked the idea of using the setting as background for a future cover of this book. Consider this quote by Tim Kreider in his The New Yorker article The Decline and Fall of The Book Cover.