Because of the nature of the story and its themes, I wanted a symbolic cover for Madness of the Turtle. At times, it was difficult to know where to stop with so many cultural and historic references in the story and I tinkered with it for a long time. Clearly the cross is a reference to the supposed resurrection of Father Gerard Limerick, and the stained glass more than a nod to the way the Church has influenced the lives of the bandits. The colours of the window panels were chosen to represent the way they live outdoors with the sky blending into the forest. The orange of the fire speaks of its presence in the story and the red the bloody violence of their lives. The Turtle increasing in size as it crawls over the cross denotes the growing insanity within the story. The green outline came about after I published when I realised that the white on white of cover against the Amazon page reduced the impact.
It became clear that whatever I thought of the original cover, not many others seemed to agree with me, so it seemed like time for a refresh. Hence the new image with a strong solid background but still retaining the image of a turtle, only as a watermark this time.
The Collection of Heng Souk was a much simpler concept where I wanted a tree that would have an Eastern feel and point to the significance of the graveyard in the lives of the three main characters. The image, stolen from my daughter, originally had a green background colour but I wanted a stronger colour that better reflected the horrors of what went on beneath the trees and so chose the more striking, and more obvious, red. It is set in a frame to symbolise Ephraim’s journal as a window on the past.
As with the Madness cover a refresh was due, mainly because the original received alot of criticism - although it's interesting to see that, given the choice between the two covers, readers posting ratings/reviews often choose the tree image. - so again out went the possibly too ambiguous imagery and instead came in a spoiled sepia toned more literal image to convey the period and place
With The Seventeen Commandments of Jimmy September, I originally started out wanting something akin to the 2D, primary colours of the first two titles. But after spending many hours and ruining several garden fence panels with a three-inch brush and some yellow paint, and pausing before I did the same thing with red paint on a concrete block wall, I recalled a photo taken on holiday in Kenya a few years earlier. At first it felt like a cheat, but once it was cropped and overwritten it seemed to suit the sense of place on the pages inside.
But I didn't stick with it for long, deciding I wanted something that looked more like a cover an dless like a holiday snap. Eventually I settled on the two block colours, with gree depicting the jungle, and the red the brutality that existed in the story.
Although the main character in . . . was Played by Walter Johns is the man in the coma, musician Joe, I wanted a cover that would make sense of the title. So I opted for a single colour format and layout that would look like a retro film poster. The gun references the fantasy world of Walter Johns TV show, and the guitar, Joe’s place in the story; with the use of a film poster suggesting there is more to the story than a gun and a guitar.
The cover for The Good Father is clearly a work in progress. This is a different book for me as it is primarily a thriller and I wanted a cover that will reflect that, and so I've been experimenting. The first was the result of trying to convey the action and the setting, and I settled for it in the end only because what had gone before was so bad. But I tired of this one quickly as I think it is too crass.
The second cover is meant to reference several points in the story, but is a bit too busy and uses a 'borrowed' photo, although there are elements I like, it didn't work for me. However I may return to something like it but with different colours and images.
The current one is another tree by my daughter - see above for The Collection of Heng Souk - but this one is only temporary as it looks too homespun. But as the book isn't out until the New Year, I'll continue to experiment.