What should go on the back of a book?

I haven’t spoken about the back of my book. Which I love as much as I love the front. Maybe. Almost. I love it all. (Do you get to see this beauty if you have the e-book?) 

The artist of front and back (and the spine too) is the exceptionally talented art director of Interlude Press, CB Messer. In early conversations with her, we discussed wanting the front to focus on the relationship between Tai and Ollie and the ocean, while the back would pick up the family of 20 somethings living in the Blue House.

So where the front is the pale morning light – the sparkling ocean and huge sky and the stillness of two boys out together waiting for the next wave, the back is the rough deck and the gold sun and the Blue House family represented in their individual boards.

After Messer suggested the back should show the boards leaning against the deck, I sent her photos of the kinds of boards each of the kids would ride. And she painted this, which is a gorgeous thing, warm and family oriented and does everything I hoped for in a back cover and could never have even dreamed up.


back cover

Now for some detail. From the left.

Jaime’s board: Jaime is Ollie’s 16 year old brother – an outgoing artist of a boy who’s into bold aesthetics and likes his reputation as a quirky aesthete. His board is pink and orange, a bright longboard that doesn’t quite fit with the rest. But, like Jaime, it adds tension and layers to a scene that could otherwise be too sweet.

Sunny’s board: Sunny is a beach girl who grew up surfing with the boys. She’s into bright patterns and unusual designs, she likes to be noticed. But she’s also deeply practical and not that tall. Tai shaped this board for her and Jaime helped with the design under Sunny’s strict instructions.

Tai’s board: Tai’s board is all about the ocean, the stillness and hugeness of it. He has others, of course, many others in the storeroom under the deck and in his shed. But this is his everyday board.

Hannah’s board: Hannah didn’t grow up surfing, but she took to it in her easy confident way. She chose this board for the way the wood makes her feel grounded.

Ollie’s board: Ollie has many boards, of course, but this one is an everyday pleasure that Tai shaped for speed and mobility in the waves. It’s decorated with clean crisp greys, smooth lines that dont distract from Ollie’s skills or the waves.

I am constantly amazed by seeing how my book came to life in Messer’s ideas and in her painting. I think the front and back covers add layers to the book and make me want to read it… and I’ve already read it many times 🙂


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