For some of us, stories start with a picture. I remember having an image in my mind of a group of people camped by a great river, in the shadow of a ruined city. They were waiting for ships to arrive with supplies. The reason for their presence there, and the mystery behind the ruined city, are the puzzle-pieces that grew into the first volume of my series, The Memphis Cycle.
Another story began with a man standing on a hillside overlooking Paris. A battle is being fought, though the sporadic firing below him shows that the fighting is paused for the night. The man looks up through the drifting skeins of smoke, up toward the stars that mirror the lights of the city below him. In that moment he falls in love – and my stories set in Paris grew from that image.
I design my own covers, so I know how it is to have an image in my mind that expresses the story, and the sort of struggle that comes when I try to capture that image and that story. Sometimes I succeed.
But what sort of image do you get when your read a description of a story? If, say, you read this passage:
Valentine’s Day means one thing at Stanton Middle School: students will send each other chocolate roses. Each year, Mia Hartley watches while the same group of students gets roses and everyone else is left out. This year, she decides things will be different. As the student assigned to write names on the cards, Mia purchases 25 roses and writes her own cards, designating them to 25 people she’s personally chosen. But she soon learns that playing matchmaker is much more complicated than she thought it would be.
Is it possible to compose an image that is as whimsical, amusing, charming and (I suspect) touching as this story promises to be?
I think it is quite possible, and I think you may agree. This week, you see, Stephanie Faris, the author of 30 Days of No Gossip, has revealed the cover of her new book, due out next year.
Click Cover Reveal and see what you think…
…And prepare to be amused, to smile and, maybe, be charmed. (I suspect the book will be even better…)
Here’s her website, too… http://www.stephaniefaris.com/