Not long ago, I was sitting at my computer, obsessively checking my e mail, putting off doing what I should be doing (which is writing a synopsis of my next book) and pop—up came an e mail from my editor with the mock-up of the cover of my novel. There is something disconcerting about seeing something appear so suddenly that you have been thinking about for decades. I suppose it would be like dreaming of being pregnant and then having a baby land on your kitchen table.
I was scared to press the link. What if I hated it? What if there was a stiletto on the cover? What if it was tacky? I’ve read so many cover horror stories—including one by an author who had stickers made up for his readers to put on his book so that they could cover up the original cover that he hated so much. I didn’t think I would hate the cover, because quite honestly I don’t hate anything, except for every Adam Sandler movie I’ve ever seen. But you don’t know.
Fortunately, my husband also obsessively checks my e mail (which is an issue probably best dealt with by a marriage counselor.) So he clicked on the link, called me and said, “The cover came. It looks great.”
“What does it look it?” I asked. To which he replied, “It’s pretty and there’s an apple in it.”
Still, I didn’t click on the image, because now I was concerned about the apple.
“It’s a big apple,” my husband said.
This anxiety went on for a while, and I’ll spare you the details, except to say that I did finally click on the image and my eyes immediately went to the light coming in from the corner, which I loved. And of course, the apple.
What does the apple signify? First of all, the novel takes place in The Big Apple, and then it is about a teacher and her students, and then there is an apple that figures in the novel. So I don’t know that it is the first image that I would have mentioned if you were to ask me what my book is about, but I like the redness of the apple. I can picture people saying, “I’d like that book with the apple on it.” It’s all good.
That week I took my cover into work with me and showed it to my boss, Alex Steele, at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and he looked at it very seriously and thoughtfully, as is his wont, and then he said, “Do you want my honest opinion?” (which is always a bad sign).
I said, “Of course.” (Because I lie.)
And he said, “I don’t like the apple.”
So, where do you fall on the apple divide? What do you think?