My advance bound copy of STAINED just arrived (it doesn’t release until Oct 1st)–and it is gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful. It felt so good to get in the mail today! (In STAINED, Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.)
There is so much excitement and joy in seeing (in person) the book you wrote–the finished copy–for the very first time. I admit that I was so excited to get STAINED that I ran and showed five different neighbors, and then a friendly teller at the bank who always loves to hear about my writing, and my hairdresser, and the clerk at the grocery store who’s always friendly with me. (Laughing) And they were all lovely about it, joining in with my excitement and enthusiasm.
And there is also SO much good feeling in holding your finished book in your hands for the first time. In running your hands over the cover, feeling the texture (or smoothness), breathing in the scent of the book, seeing your name on the cover, seeing the way your manuscript became an actual, finished book. Taking in the effect of the cover, the weight of the book, the color of the pages, the fonts used. Feeling proud of your hard work, your dream–and of the publishing team who helped you. My editor, Karen Grove, was fantastic, helping me make STAINED a stronger book, and everyone I worked with at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was lovely.
I think the book designer Liz Tardiff did an absolutely beautiful job. I love the purple dripping from the title on the cover–so fitting when Sarah has a purple port-wine stain on her cheek, and she feels stained by it and the way people judge her, as well as by the abduction and rape. I also love how easy it is to read the one-liner and my name on the cover. I really love the cover–it reminds me of Ellen Hopkins’ books–but I’d already seen the cover (in digital form). What I hadn’t seen and realized was how gorgeous the paper for the dust jacket is. It’s a lovely matte finish with a wonderful, almost grainy texture–a surprise and a delight to hold!
And then the end papers are a deep, rich purple–tying perfectly into the title (and into the port wine stain on Sarah’s cheek), and also the first line description on the inside flap, and my name and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s info on the back flap.
And then a nice surprise, to me, was to take off the dust jacket and see the title in that vivid, shiny purple, overlaid on top of black, along the spine.
I am so lucky to have a cover and a book design I love. I’m so happy! I had a lot of fun with the photos and STAINED; I hope you can tell. (grinning)
Here’s one of me reading STAINED. I know that books can save lives. Books helped save mine, and I still get reader letters every week from teens (and adults) telling me how SCARS helped save them. I hope that STAINED will also be a book that will save lives.
I didn’t used to be able to say or even feel that I was proud of myself…but I am, now. I know my books reach people who need it. I know I write emotional truths, break silences, and talk about abuse and trauma and healing, queer characters and strong girls and things that I care about deeply. I know I’m writing the books I needed as a teen and couldn’t find. So today–with the arrival of STAINED (out Oct 1st!) I feel proud.
Thank you for allowing me to share my excitement and happiness with you over STAINED. (smiling)
And (ahem) if you noticed the blue and orange fabric in the corner of my photos, that is a pair of Petal’s (my little dog’s) pjs. heh.