Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rena Rocford On The Cover Of Acne, Asthma & Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon

I love talking to debut authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.

Today's guest for the CRAP is Rena Rocford’s who has found that living as a muggle brought some level of success such as completing her master’s degree, but always stories returned, calling her to the keyboard in the dark of night. Now, having built armies from words, Rena has set her sights on world domination, one book at a time.You can find Rena at her blog, follow her on Twitter, GoodReads, or find her on Facebook. Her debut novel, Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon comes out November 23rd, 2015.


Allyson fights acne, not trolls. As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth. When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath. Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.

When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him. Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit.

Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?

Yes and no. The book was always really amorphous as far as what it would look like, but I think that was because all I could picture was a cover where you have the protagonist looking back over their shoulder, looking somewhat forlorn. I did know that I wanted a person on the cover of my book, and I really wanted it to be pretty. With a title like mine, there’s definitely a lot of room for a cutsy or joke cover, and I really didn’t want that. 

How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?

With my publisher, they give you an opportunity to put forward your ideas about the cover from the moment you sign the book. So, August of 2014 I sent Curiosity Quills my thoughts on a cover. After that, silence until late August of this year when they sent a request for a description of my MC.

Did you have any input on your cover?

While they gave me all kinds of opportunities to give input, they―rightfully!—took practically none of it. Right at the very end, the artist wanted to add just one more element to busy up the cover a touch, and they asked me about my thoughts for that element. To my great surprise, they took my suggestion.

How was your cover revealed to you?

I knew it would be showing up sooner or later, but, like all other good and bad news, it slipped into my inbox without any fanfare. I knew what it was the second I saw who had sent it, and I went to make myself a cup of tea before opening the email.

Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?

There was a date, but it wasn’t that official. Because my art came so close to my release, they needed to get the promotion part going, so they quietly sent it as part of the promo work and a couple days later I clogged up Facebook with it.

How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?

About a week.

Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?

Yes, very much! I LOVE my cover, and I wanted to splash it up everywhere once I had seen it. I maybe even did like a little happy dance about it. 

What surprised you most about the process?

The biggest surprise for me was how much I was in denial until I saw my art. There were long swaths of silence, and in those periods of quiet I felt like someone was going to pull the plug on my book and make the whole thing go away. I was haunted by this feeling that at any minute someone would show up and say “Whoops, sorry, we didn’t mean to get your hopes up, but we’ve come to our senses and remembered that your work is terrible!” And then one day, there was a cover. What had previously been very cerebral and hypothetical was suddenly very, very real.

Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?

It’s pretty cliché at this point, but keep writing. There is only one thing that helps, and it is getting lost in a new project. 

3 comments:

Amy said...

Rena, I love your cover! It's so beautiful! And I laughed when I read your comment about how until you saw the cover, you felt that your publisher might write at any moment and say, "Whoops!" and take it all away. I felt the same way. It's nice to know that we really aren't alone in feeling these things. I'm looking forward to reading your book-- it sounds fantastic! I enjoyed the interview, Mindy. CRAP is a hilarious--and perfect--name for the cover reveal experience! Genius!

Deborah Hawkins said...

That's an awesome cover, Rena! Congratulations!

Rena said...

@Amy and Deborah: Thank you guys! I feel very lucky about my cover.

@Mindy: Thanks again for having me over. I loved talking about my cover, and I've always been a big fan of your blog!