Genius…er…genesis of a cover: A Town Called Forget

Five Rivers’ Art Director, Jeff Minkevics, has once again been beavering away creating some truly amazing covers for some of our forthcoming releases.

We thought you might find it of interest to explore the creative process that has gone into creating one of these.

A Town Called Forget is a tender and often hilarious debut novel from Alberta writer, C.P. Hoff. It presented a few intriguing opportunities to explore from a cover design perspective. The novel is Anne of Green Gables turned on its head. But in this tale it is not an over-imaginative redheaded orphan that takes center stage but the off-beat town itself, full of individuals that should be restrained if not medicated. And the poor heroine of this yarn, banished to live with her Aunt Lily whom her parents have never publicly recognized, has to navigate the delicate balance between her aunt’s sanity and neuroses. Amid adventures and misadventures, she learns about patience, tolerance and even love.

So how to convey that? You’re primarily dealing with concepts, although certainly Jeff could have explored the geography of a town set under Saskatchewan’s endless skies. His initial concept aimed at simplicity and our heroine’s arrival in Forget.

At this point we discussed moving the title circle further up, removing the off-shoulder neckline, and perhaps going with a more Art Deco background to reflect the time period. Perhaps even her dress needed to be changed from something seemingly afternoon dress to a more conservative travelling suit. In other words, change just about everything. Jeff, ever patient with mere mortals, explained why his design worked and said if we wanted change, then perhaps we needed to go in a completely different direction with something like this:

…which was of course was evil genius on his part, because the flapper concept was so far removed from where we wanted to go that it was untenable. Jeff, ever the master, sent us back his original concept but with an Art Deco design for the background, thus:

Movement of the title circle worked well in the overall flow of the design. And certainly the dress with a boat neckline rather than off the shoulder was a great improvement. The background, however, was static, without the organic, whimsical impact of Jeff’s original design. So, egg on our faces, we told Jeff the original background worked perfectly well, and so the design morphed to this:

Genius! But in order to keep period details correct, we needed to switch up some of the pieces of luggage, thus:

That’s it! Ah, but we forgot our dear Connie Penner was writing under C.P. Hoff, and so with one more tweak, Jeff had the perfect cover for the perfect novel.

Thank you, Jeff Minkevics!

A Town Called Forget will be available in print and eBook later this year. You won’t want to miss this one. Honest. Side-splitting humour, at times tissue-worthy. And a whimsical cover that captures it all.