"Hope so," I said.
Once again the cover was planned, designed and executed by my son Tom. Unlike his original watercolour of Valle Crucis Abbey that graces the cover of N & H, he decided that Roadrage required something altogether different. He posted himself on the bridge that runs across our nearest dual-carriageway one night and started taking photographs. He experimented with slowing down the camera shutter speed until he achieved the desired effect - until the cars themselves had disappeared from the image and only their headlights remained visible. He then set to work with Photoshop applying different filters and cloning pieces of the image he wasn't happy with until he got it right. When this was complete he added the text and we had a test print done by a quality local printer. This highlighted a few infinitesimally small details that irritated Tom, and therefore needed adjusting. There were a few last minute (tiny) tweaks made to the text, and there you have it! An idea, collaboration wherever necessary, and about seventy or eighty hours of graft.
Such an incredible amount of work and attention to detail goes into creating a book cover. From a personal perspective writing the 'blurb' is about the trickiest writing task imaginable. How do you give a potential reader enough information to whet their appetite without giving away anything fundamentally important to the plot? It's not something I particularly relish doing. However, having said that, getting to grips with a piece of text and reworking it until it expresses exactly what I want it to, is always rewarding. The two hundred and seventeen words on the back cover of Roadrage (that's including the one hundred and twenty word excerpt from the book itself and already written, see below) took fourteen drafts to get right. Our little team, yes, it's totally a team effort, keep working at it until we're all thoroughly satisfied. Then we find at least three friendly souls who are willing to proof-read it carefully. Experience has taught that familiarity with a piece of text can make even the most observant amongst us totally blind to tyspo (that one's deliberate!).
... Gil had managed about thirty yards before he realised to his horror that the other car was tagging alongside ... the speedometer needle passed eighty, eighty-five, ninety. At each of these stages Gil looked over his shoulder to see if his pursuer had given up. There was no change. Ninety-five, a hundred, a hundred and five; his persecutor was right beside him. Gil was beginning to feel a loss of control in the steering as the wheels found it increasingly difficult to gain purchase on the wet surface. At a hundred and ten Gil had nosed ahead by a few yards, a cold sweat breaking out on his upper lip, the car slithering like a toboggan on a slalom run ...
Roadrage by M J Johnson