When I suggested to Gigi Little, my cover designer, that the wooden box my narrator discovers in the opening pages of Besotted might make a strong cover image, I never dreamed she would carve the box herself—not out of wood, but out of pixels. On her website Gigi describes creating a flat design first, marrying it with a smooth image of wood, layering the image in different shades, and finally using the eraser tool to carve away the layers to create a three dimensional design.
That I had this kind of access to my designer—sharing with her other covers and color palettes I liked and passages from the book that might resonate—is a testament to the culture of 7.13 Books created by publisher Leland Cheuk. “It’s important to me that the author be 100 percent behind the cover because they’re going to be out there championing the book,” Leland told me. “I make cover design decisions based on the author and designer’s creative vision, so it is, as much as possible, about the art instead of the commerce.”
I’m absolutely thrilled with the results of Gigi’s vision and careful work, and was eager to talk more to Gigi about what inspires her as a designer. Gigi was kind enough to select some of her favorite small press book covers for the November issue of Magnify.
One of my biggest joys as a writer is interacting with other writers and readers who are invested in the world of literature. This month, I was fortunate enough to “meet” (over e-mail anyway) another community builder, Peg Alford Pursell. Part of an ongoing series of conversations between authors who don’t already know each other organized by The Refresh, Peg and I discussed our forthcoming novels and our efforts to build our respective writing communities. Read the full text of our conversation here. After hearing from Peg about the Why There Are Words reading series and small press that she founded, I was eager to learn more about her life as a small press publisher and author. I’m grateful to her for continuing our conversation in the October issue of Magnify, my newsletter celebrating small press books.
I’m thrilled to announce that my debut novel, Besotted, will be released by 7.13 Books in 2019. I began work on this novel in 2004; my path through various rounds of writing, revision, submissions, more revisions, and time away from the book has been long. I am so grateful that the book has found a cheerleader in editor Leland Cheuk and a home at his press.
I had a great time chatting with Booktrib’s Rachel Carter for their Novel Concept Podcast about the process of putting aside a book that I could not find a publisher for. The interview followed the publication of an essay in English Kills Review about my process of letting go of the novel.
I’m grateful to CNN’s Poppy Harlow for inviting me on her show to discuss the question of arming teachers to prevent school shootings. The expectation that teachers should prepared to defend their lives and the lives of their students against gunfire is the result of our lawmakers’ refusal to stand up to the gun lobby.