My Book Cover and Body Image
Last week, my editor sent me the cover for my novel, Viral Nation. I can’t share it yet. You’ll be the first to know when I can!
I’m not a visual thinker. I tried, but I wasn’t able to form a picture in my head of what my cover might look like, I couldn’t. So, when I got the email and opened the download, it was like someone had reached into my head, taken the words that make up my story, and turned it into this beautiful, perfect picture.
I’ll never forget that moment, not ever.
Viral Nation is a little bit of a love letter to Northern Nevada, and I was particularly happy to see that the art department had worked the Reno skyline into the cover.
The cover also features one of the main characters of the story, a 16-year-old girl named Clover, and her service bulldog, Mango. Seeing a visual representation of Clover was a little like the moments when my babies became people separate from me. My first thought was, “Wow, did I really write her so small in stature?” And I did. Clover doesn’t have enough to eat. She never has. Viral Nation has an undercurrent of what struggling to feed yourself and the people you love looks like.
We live in a culture where people congratulate themselves publicly, on sites like Facebook lots of the time, for denying their hunger. We live in a culture where the body diversity that comes from living in a time and place where food is abundant and everyone has enough, is demonized. Even the suggestion that it’s okay to feel comfortable in your skin, if your skin covers a big body, is often a point of contention.
I watched a movie last night called Spanglish with Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni. They had a daughter and Tea Leoni’s character is nearly desperate for the girl (maybe 12 or 13) to fit her beauty standard. She buys her daughter clothes, only in a size too small, as inspiration for weight loss. When her plan backfires, she asks her husband, “What am I supposed to do, support her being overweight?”
We live in a culture where even having access to clothes that fit is a minefield. Someday I’ll write a book about body image. Viral Nation is about other things, but it does speak to how important having enough to eat is.
I can’t wait to share the cover with you guys. My editor says it’ll be after the holidays.