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Which Book Cover?


Tis the season of the book cover. While the world is celebrating the coming festive holidays and the opportunity of a vaccine is ready to jab its rather pointed way into the fight, it does seem a tat swallow to be so excited about this.

In my defence this is not just any old book cover. No, this is a new story based around my lovable characters who live in a fictional village on the North Coast 500. Blàs; Roots in the Soil, in now at the stage where I have to consider how to encase this tale.

An easy task you would think. After all the first time around I had so many options to choose from. What style would it be? A photograph or maybe a drawing or perhaps just words? This time the style has ready been established by my previous book, Blàs; of the Highlands. The whole process then should be more straight forwards.

Wrong, so very wrong. Perhaps if the artist wasn’t so good it would be easy to pick. But I am like a shoe lover in a shoe shop. So many options and colours, so pretty and yet so different. They all look so good. A few changes here and there and any would suit. Maybe I could choose them all? Well obviously that wouldn’t work. I think perhaps I need to calm down a bit and take a more measured approach.

You would suppose given I am a writer, it is that process that would produce all this pleasure. Well it does, although generally when I have completely finished the entire writing process. Conversely the first time I jot down a new workable idea I feel that same thrill surge through me.

I know it may sound sad to some but I actually love getting the manuscript back from the editor; the first time! Although it will be covered in weird signs and characters, notes and suggestions (think runes in fantasy books and you wouldn’t be far off), each symbol somehow validates that here is a creation worthy of contemplation. I may not agree with everything but at least it has been thoroughly examined and considered.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to have it back with ‘Great, well done, what an achievement, 10 out of 10’. That however would be unrealistic and totally useless. I leave that sort of praise for my mum who excels in that field.

I need that ‘What? What are you actually trying to say here!!? And rather unsurprisingly ‘Hyperbole!! ’ Yes I know but at least she doesn’t say, yet again. Perhaps she expects me to pick up on the exclamation marks; they might just be an insight into what she actually thinks.

As the bairns await in anticipation, Father Christmas, Bochach na Nollaig (or whatever else you want to call him), I await my editor’s judgement. However once the wrapper comes off, I don’t think I will be so filled with rapture as I contemplate all the changes that will no doubt need done. How is it that when I hand her a complete story she manages to envisage and suggest so many ways in which to improve it?

Right there, that is one of the reasons I enjoy musing over the cover examples so much. In reality I don’t have to do any of the work. I can take my time and ponder over the pictures. Colours and font will be mulled over in a relaxed considered way, hopefully accompanied by a cup of tea. The creative work is left to a different kind of artist.

As people tinkle with their decorations and consider last minute presents, I will be studying designs. I’m hoping I will manage to fit in the odd glass of mulled wine and perhaps a mincemeat pie or two.

When Blàs; Roots in the Soil is eventually available to buy, I hope I remember this time of contemplation, this suppressed excitement before the burst of festivities takes off. This time, now, just before we find we can heal ourselves and our population.

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