When I first published Niedermayer & Hart, although I had always visualised it as the first part in a trilogy with a fully complete and rounded story arc, I brought it out as a standalone piece. This was primarily because, as a newcomer to the writing game then, I didn’t want to commit to something I knew would take up many more months of work before first receiving some feedback from readers/reviewers etc. - I thought I’d dip a toe into the pond before committing myself to full body immersion. Once, however, Wilhelm & Laszlo was ready to publish, we (‘we’ being the production team at Odd Dog Press, wife and editor-in-chief Judith Johnson, son and cover designer, artist Tom Johnson) felt both the book covers needed to be more informative about content - the original front cover of N&H gave very little away, and unless you flipped over to read the blurb (not possible on Kindle) and saw the bloody fingerprint depicted on the name-card there, a prospective reader might have thought they were about to begin a work of historical fiction, or gothic romance perhaps?
So these were the main motivators behind the new-look for Niedermayer & Hart. Firstly, to guide and inform the reader more accurately about content, and secondly to create a ‘brand’ look and feel that might be applied just as effectively to the first two books, as well as to the planned final part of the trilogy. We had numerous discussions over many months of possible themes, at first thinking to portray an inanimate object like the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey (as depicted on the first edition of N & H) on each cover. Over time however, the concept changed and it was agreed we should try and hint at something contained within the books themselves, and that this was probably best achieved through its cast of characters.
The amount of art work involved in creating both covers was enormous. Tom is a very busy man and he generously gave what little spare time he had to the project, never once stinting on or suggesting corner-cutting if more work was required. I am a proud and grateful father. There were times when we found ourselves wandering down a few blind-alleyways before we could finally agree as a production team that everything was exactly how we wished it to be. The books (8.5”x 5.5”) required Tom to complete five intricately detailed much larger pieces of art work (see photograph) in oils on paper, which he scanned into a computer before sizing, ordering and arranging them with text etc.
The printed books are simply a delight to behold (okay, I’ll admit to a little bias here!). And although reviews are slow to appear as yet - an eternal problem for independent authors - feedback I’m hearing via email/twitter etc. from readers is very positive on the content front too. So, phew!
I loved the old N & H cover and I simply adore the new artwork for the trilogy. I hope you agree.
Niedermayer & Hart and Wilhelm & Laszlo are both available through Amazon as ebooks and in printed versions.
Click this link to see more of Tom Johnson’s artwork.
Click link to read the article described above from The Times of Tunbridge Wells.