Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guest Post - Gregory Earls

I am pleased to bring you a guest post from author Gregory Earls to you today. Here is the cover shot of his book:

Empire of Light

Gregory is a very talented young man. I checked out his website and was impressed with his photography and sketches. I admit I cannot draw stick people well so I am impressed with people who have talent. In addition to writing and art skills, Gregory is a director. Very cool huh?  He also seems to be a very down to earth and funny guy. So please check him out. After his post you will find all the info on how to stalk him  learn more about him. ;)



When I found out that my debut novel, Empire Of Light, was going to be published, one of the things I was most excited about was helping to design the front cover. As a frustrated artist, I was enamored with the idea of sketching out a concept and having an illustrator bring my idea to fruition. It wasn’t long before a nice tall bucket of cold water bitch-slapped me out of that daydream and snapped me back to reality.

As my Simon & Fig publisher explained to me in the bluntest of words, writers never have a say in what’s on their book’s cover. I would have a better chance writing the set list for The Police reunion tour (Stewart Copeland would want to punch me in the face ‘cause most of the songs would come from Dream Of The Blue Turtles). It just never happens and that’s the way the game is played.

She wanted to place the image of a vintage Kodak Brownie camera on the cover, an object that plays such a central role in Empire Of Light. In the story, the camera is enchanted by the gorgeous light of magic hour. Magic hour is that fleeting moment after the sun has set, yet its rays still illuminate the sky. Because the sun is low on the horizon, its rays pass through more of our atmosphere than normal, making them softer and warmer. The light also has more time to pass through all of the prayers sent to heaven from the good people below. It was this ethereal contact with this light that gives the holder of the Brownie the power to literally make dreams come true.

My publisher argued that this singular elegant image on the cover, of this art deco designed camera, would attract a potential reader’s eye. Incredibly sound logic, but I would have none of it. After a few minutes acting out like a child, my publisher let me have a crack the design.

“Okay. You pay for the artist, you can have a shot at the design.”

Victory!

What I soon discovered, however, was that her allowing me to design the book cover was akin to a parent forcing her child to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes after catching him stealing a drag behind the garage. I got what I wanted, but it would lead to me vomiting up my dinner on the lawn, humbled and lesson learned.

Since much of my manuscript revolves around the artwork of the talented, insane and perverse mind of Caravaggio, I thought it would be a great idea to have the book cover ape one of his paintings. I chose his masterpiece, The Conversion Of Paul. For those of you not up on your bible stories, one day this thug was on the road to Damascus to bring the pain to some followers of Christ, when suddenly he’s knocked off his horse by a blinding light, God’s light. He went blind for three days and when his sight returned, he, himself, became a follower of Christ.

I figured a great cover would be to ape the composition of this great painting, but instead of Paul on the ground, shielding his eyes, I’d have my protagonist, Jason Tisse. And instead of the light of God, he’d be blinded by an HMI movie light, with a crew of students watching on.

“What a clever boy, I am,” I thought.

So all I needed was an artist that could mock one of the greatest figurative painters this side of Michelangelo, who would work for about two hundred bucks. So I placed an ad on CraigsList.com.

…You know, It’s amazing how much of an ass I felt like merely typing the previous two sentences. Suffice it to say, my concept failed.

So in the end, I wasted a fist full of dough and my publisher ended up with the cover she wanted in the first place. And you know what, I think it’s spectacular, if I do say so myself. But I feel like I still made out ahead in the deal. I lost two hundred dollars, but at least I wasn’t left to turn blue behind a garage, throwing up my supper.

Close, but not quite.

Visit Gregory's website: http://www.gregoryearls.com/





Empire of Light at Amazon: Print Copy and Kindle Copy

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